When the Angels hosted the Dodgers for their first matchup of the regular season back on June 20, the two teams seemed poised to make a run for the postseason. Nearly a month has passed since that first game where Shohei Ohtani struck out 12 Dodgers hitters with his team failing to provide him any run support, netting a loss for the impending free agent.
Within that time, the Dodgers took advantage of a scuffling Arizona team to elevate themselves to leading the National League West while the Angels have unsurprisingly fallen to a .500 record and ranking fourth within their division. When adding the fact that the Angels other superstar Mike Trout will be out for an extended period of time dealing with a hamate injury, the team is leaning on becoming sellers ahead of the trade deadline. With his contract ending at the conclusion of the season, Ohtani is an asset that the Angels are considering to part ways with before the August 1 deadline.
Shohei Ohtani is seemingly breaking records every time he steps onto the diamond, whether he’s allowing the lowest opposing average on the mound or leading all qualified hitters in home runs, triples, slugging percentage, OPS, OPS+, and total bases.
While the Dodgers are seemingly the favorites to land Ohtani in free agency, there isn’t much speculation that the 29-year-old superstar would be dealt to the team that plays 24 miles north of the Angels. Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times wrote a column that hints at Angels team owner Arte Moreno’s refusal to deal with the Dodgers— lambasting him in the process— while noting how the addition of the Japanese superstar ahead of free agency would be a bonus for the Dodgers:
“Sure, the Dodgers can wait until this winter, when Ohtani walks and they can get him without giving up any players. But their chances of signing him increase exponentially if they can get him in the building now. Not to mention, there would be a marked increase in their chances of winning a World Series now.”
- Mookie Betts is projected to set a career high in home runs and runs batted in, as his recent hot streak has powered the Dodgers to the top of their division standings. His uptick in his power and overall performance at the plate is seemingly fueled by a desire to capture another MVP, reports Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times.
- Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic writes about Evan Phillips’ return to Baltimore, and how the reliever was able to find his way to success with the Dodgers after facing struggles earlier in his career as a member of the Orioles.
- Clayton Kershaw threw a successful bullpen session before the Dodgers’ commanding win against the Orioles that was around 30 pitches, reports Patrick Stevens of the Associated Press.
- Commissioner Rob Manfred flew to Baltimore prior to yesterday’s game to discuss with Dodgers players and team staff new rules regarding the pitch clock and the overall pace of play, reports Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register.
- Mookie Betts and Orioles outfielder Cedric Mullins attempted to solve the Immaculate Grid, which has taken the baseball community by storm, in the latest of edition of On Base with Mookie Betts.