The Angels welcome the Reds for a weekday series starting Monday but with both starting pitchers trending in opposite directions, which team has the edge?

See who our expert likes to make a big impact.

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While some might perceive this line as a tempting lure, I’m inclined to believe that affording Lucas Giolito another opportunity is a matter of fairness.

The right-handed pitcher has encountered considerable struggles since donning an Angels uniform, yielding a disheartening 8.14 ERA across four starts.

However, delving deeper, it’s essential to recognize that amidst this discouraging performance Giolito did manage to achieve a quality start, amassing seven strikeouts against the Giants. Furthermore, his challenges were exacerbated by facing formidable offenses in the Blue Jays, Braves and Rangers.

Following the All-Star break, the Reds have demonstrated a lackluster batting average of .227, accompanied by an 81 wRC+. Perhaps more concerning is their troubling 27.5 percent strikeout rate.

Given our extensive observations of Giolito’s career, it’s evident he’s been susceptible to hard-hit balls throughout. Nonetheless, he’s adeptly navigated around this challenge by boasting exceptional strikeout figures.

While his strikeout performance has dipped this year, the Reds’ notable shortcomings in plate discipline should contribute to bolstering Giolito’s chances.

Considering these dynamics, I’m inclined to favor the Angels as the modest favorites in this scenario. Although Graham Ashcraft has shown improvement lately, it’s worth noting that barring his outing against the Dodgers, he has primarily faced weaker offensive lineups. This stands in stark contrast to the demanding competition that Giolito has been up against.

Furthermore, Ashcraft’s xBA over the past couple of months still hovers around .250, accompanied by subpar strikeout and walk statistics.

A capable Angels offense is poised to make a breakthrough in this matchup.

The pick: Angels ML -135

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