Wednesday, May 31, 2023
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MLB Preview: Los Angeles Angels (16-14) at St. Louis Cardinals (10-20)

LOS ANGELES ANGELS NOTES:

LEADING OFF: Today, the Angels play the fifth (2-2) of six games on a road trip against the Milwaukee Brewers (1-2) and St. Louis Cardinals (1-0; May 2-4)… Halos went 5-2 on last homestand against Kansas City (2-1) and Oakland (3-1)…LAA was 2-5 on last road trip against the Boston Red Sox (1-3) and New York Yankees (1-2).

LEAGUE LEADER: Today’s starting pitcher, Shohei Ohtani, leads the Majors in opponent batting average (.102), ranks tied for fifth in strikeouts (46), and is sixth in ERA (1.85) and WHIP (0.82).

HIGH WATER MARK: With a 16-14 record, Halos are back to a season-high two games over .500; sixth time at two games over .500 this year and first time since being 14-12 on Thursday)…With a win tonight, Angels would match longest win streak of season (have had two three-game win streaks in 2023) and move to three games above .500 for first time since June 2, 2022 (27-24; after Game 1 of doubleheader at NYY).

ANOTHER RECORD IN SIGHT: Shohei Ohtani has allowed three-or-fewer hits in 10 straight pitching starts…The streak is tied for the longest in MLB history, excluding Openers…The only other pitcher to go 10 straight starts with three-or-fewer hits was Jacob deGrom for the Mets in 2021.

500K: Shohei Ohtani enters today’s game with 487 career pitching strikeouts…Is 13 strikeouts shy of reaching 500 for career…Would be the 10th Japanese-born pitcher with 500 strikeouts in the Majors.

APPROACHING THE BABE: Shohei Ohtani is 14 strikeouts shy of matching the career total for Babe Ruth (according to ELIAS, Ruth had 501 career pitching strikeouts)…Ruth is currently the only player with 500+ pitching strikeouts and 100+ home runs in a career.

*Note: Ruth’s overview page on Baseball Reference and MLB.com list 488 career strikeouts…That does not match his total strikeouts when adding up totals from his individual yearly game logs on the sites

RECENT TRANSACTIONS: Yesterday the Angels reinstated RHP Ryan Tepera from the injured list… He missed 15 games on the IL with right shoulder
inflammation and worked 1.0 perfect inning in each of two rehab outings for Low-A Inland Empire, striking out five of six batters faced…In a corresponding move, RHP Andrew Wantz was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake.

VS. ST. LOUIS: Today is the second (1-0) in a three game series for the Angels at St. Louis…This is Halos first series against the Cardinals since June 21-23, 2019 at Busch Stadium…Angels are 8-11 all-time vs. Cardinals (6-7 in St. Louis and 5-5 at current Busch Stadium).

A NEW ERA IN THE SERIES: Albert Pujols, who currently works for the Angels as a Special Assistant to the Club, started each of the first 18 games between the Angels and Cardinals…Yesterday’s game was the first ever matchup between the teams without Pujols in the lineup.

UNEARNED: Angels have allowed 20 unearned runs this season (tied with Rockies for most in Majors).

PLAY FROM AHEAD: Halos have held leads in 25 of 30 games played this year.

INTERLEAGUE PLAY: LAA owns a 265-226 (.540) all-time Interleague record (4-3 in 2023)…The 265 all-time Interleague wins are third most all time behind Red Sox (290) and Yankees (285)…Angels won four of first five Interleague games in 2022, but are 7-15 vs. N.L. opponents since.

NET-OW: Zack Neto has been hit by seven pitches this season, which is tied for second-most in the Majors… Since 1901, Neto’s seven HBP through his first 15 career games are the most in MLB…He also was the first player in Angels history to be hit a pitch in four consecutive games (April 18-21).

ALL OVER THE INFIELD: Gio Urshela is one of five players in the Majors to appear at all four infield positions this season…He has made 10 starts at first base, eight starts each at third base, seven at shortstop and one game at second base.

AFTER APRIL: Angels finished month of April with a 15-14 record…Third consecutive season with a .500-orbetter record at the end of April…For the month, Halos offense ranked third in HR (39) and fourth in runs (148), hits (246) and total bases (409)…Shohei Ohtani,
Hunter Renfroe and Mike Trout each finished April with seven HR, marking first time in LAA history that three players had 7+ HR by the end of April.

MULTI-HR MIKE: Saturday night at Milwaukee, Mike Trout extended his franchise record with his 25th career multi-HR game (first this season)…First time in career homering in consecutive innings (HR in 8th and 9th innings).

HISTORICAL SERIES: During the Angels last home series vs. Oakland, Brandon Drury hit .600 (9/15) with seven runs, two doubles, one triple, four home runs, 12 RBI and three walks in the four games against the A’s…His 12 RBI are a new franchise record for a single series and seven XBH hits tie a franchise record for a series.

SHY-CYCLE: Thursday afternoon vs. Oakland, Shohei Ohtani was the Angels winning pitcher and finished a home run shy of becoming the first starting pitcher in MLB history to hit for the cycle…He hit a first inning single, third inning double, sixth inning triple and had a
389 ft. flyout to center field in his final at bat.

LEGENDARY COMPANY: Mike Trout is the fourth player in MLB history with 300+ doubles, 300+ home runs and 200+ stolen bases by his age-31 season, joining Willie Mays, Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez.

RANGERS ON DECK: Following the current series in St. Louis, the Angels will return home and begin a three-game series on Friday against the Texas Rangers…Will mark the first meeting of 2023 between the teams… Last year, Texas won the season series 10-9.

TODAY’S STARTING PITCHER – RHP SHOHEI OHTANI
4-0, 1.85 ERA
Has allowed three-or-fewer hits in each of last 10 starts (tied for MLB record; excluding Openers)

• SHO TIME: Making seventh pitching start of the year and fourth on the road…Is in sixth Major League season with LAA.

• LEAGUE LEADER: Enters today’s start leading the Majors in opponent batting average (.102), ranks tied for fifth in strikeouts (46), and is sixth in ERA (1.85) and WHIP (0.82).

• CAN’T HIT THIS: Enters today’s game with streak of 10 straight pitching starts allowing three-or-fewer hits (since Sept. 17, 2022)…It is tied with Jacob deGrom (10 game streak for Mets in 2021) for the longest streak all-time (excluding Openers).

• LAST TIME ON THE MOUND: Earned the win in last start on Thursday vs. Oakland after tossing a 6.0 innings and allowing a season-high five earned runs on three hits with two walks and eight strikeouts; all five runs and three hits came in the 4th inning.

• OFF THE BOARDS: Had franchise record streak of 12 straight pitching starts allowing two-or-fewer runs snapped in last start on Thursday vs. Oakland (Nolan Ryan had previous record with nine game streak across the 1972-73 seasons)…Overall, has yielded two-or-fewer runs in 21 of last 25 starts and one-or-fewer runs in 18 of last 25 starts.

• APPROACHING THE BABE: Is 13 strikeouts shy of reaching 500 for career and 14 shy of matching the career total for Babe Ruth (according to ELIAS, Ruth had 501 career pitching strikeouts)…Ruth is currently the only player with 500+ pitching strikeouts and 100+ home runs in a career.

• VS. ST. LOUIS: Today marks first career pitching appearance vs. Cardinals.

• AT BUSCH STADIUM: Today marks first career pitching appearance at Busch Stadium.

• INTERLEAGUE PLAY: In six career games vs. N.L. opponents, is 3-1 with a 2.35 ERA (38.1 IP – 10 ER) and 49 SO…This season, is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA (7 IP – 0 ER) following first Interleague start on April 11 vs. Nationals.

• HOME SWEET HOME: Has a career 2.04 ERA (216 IP – 49 ER) in home games, which is the second lowest total of the last 100 years (min. 30 GS)…Only Miami’s José Fernández (1.49 ERA; 272.1 IP – 45 ER) has a lower home ERA.

• SCORELESS AT THE BIG A: Had streak of 35.0 consecutive scoreless innings pitched at Angel Stadium snapped in last home start…Finished as second longest streak in ballpark history, behind a 36.2 IP streak by Mark Clear in 1979.

• OPENING DAY STARTER: Was Angels Opening Day starter for second consecutive season…Also made two Opening Day pitching starts in Japan for Nippon-Ham Fighters…Became first Angels pitcher to start consecutive Opening Days since Jered Weaver (2010-15)…Became fourth pitcher in Angels history with 10+ strikeouts on Opening Day, joining Nolan Ryan (12 SO; 1973 & 1975), Andy Messersmith (11 SO; 1970) and Jered Weaver (10 SO; 2012).

• 10 K: Has two starts this season with 10+ strikeouts…Recorded 10+ strikeouts in 10 starts last season, which was the most such games in the A.L.; joined Nolan Ryan as the only pitchers in franchise history with 10+ strikeouts in at least six consecutive games.

• WBC MVP: Named Most Valuable Player of the 2023 World Baseball Classic…Made three pitching appearances (two starts) for Japan, going 2-0 with a 1.86 ERA and 11 strikeouts and earned the save in the Championship Game against the United States…Marked first relief appearance since October 16, 2016 in Game 5 of the Final Stage of the 2016 Pacific League Climax Series for Fighters.

• ONE AND ONLY: Last season, became only player to ever qualify for the league leaders as both a hitter and a pitcher in one season…Was the first A.L/N.L. player since Babe Ruth (1918) with 10+ wins and 10+ HR in the same season and the only player in MLB history with 10+ wins & 30 + HR.

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS NOTES:

RECENT REDBIRDS: The Cardinals opened a six-game homestand (LAA-3, DET-3) last night with the first of three games against the Los Angeles Angels…it’s the first series meeting between the Cardinals and Angels since June of 2019 here at Busch Stadium…the Cardinals returned home from a 10-game (1-2 at SEA, 1-3 at SF, 0-3 at LAD) west coast trip that saw them go just 2-8, wrapping up with a 3-game series sweep by the Dodgers last weekend…it was the Cardinals first west coast swing since 1978 that consisted of 10+ games and produced just two wins…the Cardinals have lost four-straight games, matching their longest skid of the season.

FIRST MEETING: While they will oppose each other tonight, MLB All-Stars Miles Mikolas and Shohei Ohtani have never been matched up against one another prior to this evening, including during Mikolas’ three-year (2015-17) stint playing in Japan…in addition, Miles has never faced Ohtani as a batter… Mikolas’ Yomiuri Giants and Ohtani’s Nippon Ham Fighters resided in different leagues in Nippon Professional Baseball. (Lefton).

PITCHERS WHO HIT: The Cardinals have had 171 home runs hit by their pitchers dating to 1914, with Bob Gibson (24) leading that group…Adam Wainwright (10) is the MLB active leader in home runs hit by pitchers, one ahead of the Royals Zack Greinke (9)…Miles Mikolas has hit two career HR’s…Jack Flaherty (5/7/21) was the last Cardinals pitcher to homer…the Angels Shohei Ohtani has homered in five career games while he was also pitching (Elias).

THE MERRY MERRY MONTH OF MAY: Since moving into Busch Stadium III in 2006, the Cardinals have compiled a .500 or better record in the month of
May in 12 of 16 seasons (missed 2000 due to COVID)…their best May in that time span was a 20-7 mark (.741 win pct.) in 2013, and their worst was a 9-18 (.333) spiral in 2019 on the heels of a strong 19-10 (.655) March/April start…the 2002 Cards began 12-14 in April before rebounding to go 18-10 in May and make the postseason…the 1985 Cards were 8-11 in April, then went 93-50 to close out their NL Championship season.

WESTERN WEAR: Tonight’s game is the 15th of 16 straight against opponents from the NL and AL West Divisions (St. Louis is 68-63 combined vs. both West Divisions since 2019).

L.A. STORY: Tonight is the fifth game of six straight vs. Major League teams from the Los Angeles area (April 28-30 at Dodger Stadium and May 2-4 vs. Angels at Busch Stadium) … The only other time St. Louis has played back-to-back series against the Dodgers and Angels was 2016: May 10-12 at Angel Stadium (3-0) and May 13-15 at Dodger Stadium (1-2).

MVP FACTORIES: The Cardinals, along with the Angels and Tigers, who they will host on this homestand, have produced a combined 12 league Most Valuable Players over the past 19 seasons, including each of the past two years (Goldschmidt-2022, Ohtani-2021)… the Angels have had 5 MVPs since 2004, the Cardinals 4 and the Tigers 3 (see chart at left)…overall, the Cardinals have won 21 MVP awards (2nd most to the Yankees, 23), the Tigers have 12 and the Angels 6.

IT STARTS HERE: The Cardinals have held their opponents scoreless thru at least the 1st three innings in 8 of their 30 games to begin the season, including three games that resulted in shutout victories…however in those same eight games, the opposition has matched the Cardinals effort by twirling two shutout wins of their own…the Cardinals are 8-6 when scoring first this season, but 2-14 when allowing their opponents to get on the board first.

SNAZZY SOPHOMORES: Three Cardinals sophomores are ranked among the MLB leaders for those playing in their 2nd season…Nolan Gorman (.878), Brendan Donovan (.715) and Alec Burleson (.713) are all ranked in the top-15 for OPS among 2nd year players in MLB… Gorman is leading the majors sophomores with his 22 RBIs and he’s T2nd in HR’s with 6.

STOP THE STREAKS: The Cardinals, while losing a season-high four straight, have also gone a season-high four straight games without homering (last, DeJong in 8th inn. on 4/27 at SF), and they’ve not converted a save in 16-straight games since April 14 (Gallegos vs. PIT).

SURELY YOU CAN’T BE SERIES-OUS?: St. Louis is the lone MLB team to be winless (0-10) in series openers this season, marking a
franchise record of consecutive series-opening losses to begin a season. The MLB record still resides in the same city with the 1897 St.
Louis Browns dropping their first 14 series openers. The 1978 Cardinals lost 20 straight series opening games from April 14-June 16,
marking the franchise record for longest streak. (Elias)

TONIGHT’S STARTING PITCHER: RHP MILES MIKOLAS (1-1, 5.97)
TONIGHT’S GAME
NL Ranks: Hits Allowed (41, 1st), Runs Allowed (22, T1st), ER allowed (21, 2nd), HR Allowed (6, T4th).

• The 2022 N.L. All-Star is making his team-high 6th start of 2023, 149th career appearance & 121st career start.

• Needs five outs for 750.0 career innings pitched. Ranks 2nd behind only Adam Wainwright (2,567.1 IP) in most innings pitched (657.0) as a Cardinal among actives.

• Will be making his fourth start, all with the Cardinals against the Giants. Has four relief appearances as a member of the Padres (2012-13).

• Among qualifiers, enters today with the highest ERA (7.46) and opponent BA (.366) in the National League.

• Is 0-0 with a 4.09 ERA in his last two starts with an opp. BA of .279, after beginning the season 0-1 with an 10.05 ERA and a .420 opp BA in his first three starts.

• Has not received more than three runs of support in any start this season. Ranks as 8th-lowest in run support average among N.L. qualifiers (3.20).

• Making his 4th day game start of the season (0-1, 7.20 ERA, 4 GS), but overall in his career, holds a 16-10 record with a 3.82 ERA in 41 starts (48 app.) under the sun.

• Has walked 118 batters over his first 110 starts with St. Louis. Among Cardinals starters in their first 110 starts with the franchise, only Bob Tewksbury (92) issued fewer.

• Has allowed seven of his 22 runs in the first inning (12.60 ERA).

• Was one of 10 MLB pitchers and two Cardinals (Wainwright) with a perfect 1.000 fielding pct. (31 total chances) in 2022. Hasn’t made an
error since 8/2/18 vs. COL.

• Signed a two-year contract extension through 2025 on March 24.

LAST TIME OUT
• Threw 6.1 scoreless innings of four-hit ball in a 6-0 Cardinals win to avoid a four-game sweep at Oracle Park. Tied his season-high with six strikeouts and departed with a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the 7th inning. DATE vs. RESULT DEC IP H R ER BB SO HR NP-S 4/27 @SF W 6-0 W-1 6.1 4 0 0 2 6 0 95-64

2023
• Allowed at least 5 runs and 9 hits in each of his first three starts – first pitcher in MLB to begin a season with three such starts since Alex Cobb (2018, BAL). Became the 16th pitcher in Cardinals history to start a season allowing five or more runs in his first three starts and first since Brett Tomko (2003).

• Received a no decision on 4/11 at COL, departing the game after 5.0 IP and trailing 6-2 after allowing three HR’s tying his career-high. Tied his season-high with 10 hits allowed

• Recorded his 500th career strikeout in the National League on Opening Day.

• Drew his 2nd career Opening Day start (3/30) and had a no-decision in the Cardinals 10-9 loss to Toronto that featured five lead changes.

• Was a 3-0 with 0.00 ERA in three Grapefruit League starts this season, allowing just
one unearned run in his 12.0 IP. 123 of his 133 pitches thrown this spring were strikes

• Pitched for Team USA during World Baseball Classic, totaling 6.0 IP in two relief appearances, including a 4.0 inning stint in the American’s semi-final win over Cuba.

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