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Shotime in the Bronx as Ohtani and the LA Angels face Yankees

Bronx, NY – Summer is on the horizon with a premiere matchup to open up the month of June. That being, “Shotime” and the LA Angels in New York. The Yankees have their hands full this week in sustaining the defending American League MVP, Shohei Ohtani, in the batters box as well as on the mound. We are witnessing the modern day Babe Ruth in Ohtani, a player who pitches and hits at an elite All-Star level. Ohtani is a spectacle across the baseball world. Totaling 46 HR, 100 RBI with an .372 OBP in the 2021 season is an impressive clip for any ballplayer. Yet for “Shotime”, he added to his historic year on the mound by totaling 156 strikeouts in 130.1 innings pitched (23 starts). The 27-year-old phenom has begun this season, right where he left off during his MVP campaign.

Image Credit: Bill Menzel

Shohei Ohtani 2022 Regular Season Statistics

Offense: .249 BA, 11 HR, 32 RBI, 47 hits, .324 OBP (49 games)

Pitching: 3-3 record, 3.45 ERA, 63 Ks in 44.1 innings pitched (8 starts)

For a three-game series in the Bronx, Angels/Yankees have star power written across the board. With perennial All-Star talents Mike Trout, Taylor Ward and Ohtani going up against the Bronx Bombers in Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo, this series is fans must-watch matchup. The long-ball power in both of these lineups is a thrill seeker and a major factor to watch out for throughout this series. Between the LA Angels and NY Yankees, there are a total of seven players with 10 or more home runs this season (Aaron Judge: 18, Mike Trout: 13, Shohei Ohtani: 11, Anthony Rizzo: 11, Giancarlo Stanton: 11, Jared Walsh: 10, Taylor Ward: 10). 

This past Tuesday evening in the series opener, the NY Yankees led by LHP Jordan Montgomery, dominated the LA Angels by a final of 9-1. With one out in the top of the 1st inning, Ohtani slammed a shot to deep center field that was robbed by a leaping six-foot-seven Judge. Speaking of the man who has Yankee Stadium fans erupting during each at-bat. Judge, who is top five across MLB in various statistics, is the front-runner for the AL MVP, in my opinion on where we stand today. 

Cannot forget to mention, the 3x American League MVP and 9-time All-Star, Mike Trout. In 45 games played this season, Trout is batting .302 totaling 49 hits, 28 RBI with a .402 OBP. The 30-year-old out of Millville, New Jersey has his name sketched in nearly every record book. With 844 runs batted in on his career, Trout is three RBI from becoming third all-time in LA Angels franchise history. Trout would pass Brian Downing (846) on the historic list, with two high-regarded names ahead; Tim Salmon (1016), and Garret Anderson (1292). Any baseball fan should be turning on the television and/or flipping the radio station to tune into Angels Yankees.

Image Credit: Daniel Budasoff

Team Ranks across MLB – Los Angeles Angels (27-23) vs. New York Yankees (34-15)

*(Stats below are based from before play on Wednesday, June 1st)*

Offensive Statistics

Hits Per Game

Angels:  8.4 hits per game (Tied 7th in MLB) – Yankees: 7.9 hits per game (Tied 16th in MLB)

Runs Scored Per Game

Angels: 4.7 runs per game (Tied 4th in MLB) – Yankees: 4.7 runs per game (Tied 4th in MLB)

Pitching/Defense Statistics

Strikeouts Per 9 innings

Angels: 8.00 K/9 (22nd in MLB) – Yankees: 9.20 K/9 (5th in MLB)

Runs Allowed Per Game

Angels: 4.0 runs allowed per game (Tied 11th in MLB) – Yankees: 3.1 runs allowed per game (Tied 1st in MLB)

Players to Watch in LA Angels vs. NY Yankees

LAA: Andrew Velazquez (Shortstop, 27-years-old) – Bronx, New York

During the offseason, the LA Angels claimed Velazquez off waivers in hopes of strengthening their middle infield as well as productivity on the base path. Although it’s early in the season, Velazquez ranks second among MLB shortstops with six defensive runs saved. On the bases, he has eight stolen bases this season, which is double what he totaled in all of the 2021 season with the NY Yankees (4). Angels manager Joe Maddon has stated on numerous occasions that Velazquez is one of the most talented defensive shortstops across the league.

NYY: Gleyber Torres (Second Baseman, 25-years-old) – Caracas, Venezuela

Image Credit: Bill Menzel

Entering the season, one focal point into the Yankees success was how Torres would perform on defense along with contributing at the plate. With that being said, Torres has been off to a phenomenal start, especially in clutch situations. Within his first 45 games played this season, he has as many home runs (9) as all of last season (127 games). Since May 11th, Torres is batting .300 with 21 hits, 5 HR, 11 RBI, and 4 walks. 

Due to substantial rain in the area on Wednesday night, the Angels Yankees are scheduled to conclude their 3-game series on Thursday, June 2nd in a split-admission doubleheader (1:05pm and 7:05pm).

Robert Rizzo writes for Latino Sports and NY Sports Day 

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