We already know who's starting on Opening Day for the Los Angeles Angels. Shohei Ohtani was named the Opening Day starter early on in Spring Training. He's the unquestioned ace of this staff and is one of the best five or ten pitchers in the world.
Ohtani is starting game one, but the Angels had a slew of options for game two. Tyler Anderson, the newcomer making $13 million dollars this year and the next three seasons was an option. Reid Detmers coming off of the great second half he's coming off of was an option. Ultimately, Nevin landed on Sandoval.
Patrick Sandoval starting game 2 and Angels home opener
In addition to the second game of the season, the southpaw also gets the honor of starting the home opener against the Blue Jays. It'll be the seventh game of the season, so people expected at first that that'd also be Ohtani. Because of how the Angels plan on using their ace, it isn't.
The Halos open with three games in Oakland. Ohtani is starting on the Thursday, Opening Day, and then the teams have a day off on Friday. Sandoval will start on Saturday with one of Anderson or Detmers (presumably) starting on Sunday to wrap up the series.
After their series in Oakland the Halos head to Seattle for a really crucial three game set. The other one of Detmers and Anderson will start the opener in Seattle followed by Jose Suarez. And then, Shohei Ohtani is pencilled in to start the final game of the series.
The Angels are going to go with a six-man rotation when they need it, but when there are days off they'll go with just five. Ohtani needs five days in between starts, but should be ready to go every sixth day instead of sixth game like in the past. This maximizes his starts in the season and arguably more importantly lessens the need for a sixth starter.
This strategy explains why the Angels didn't go out and sign someone like Michael Wacha or Johnny Cueto to fill that spot, and will instead use internal options for the first chunk of the season.
Ohtani won't start at home until April 11th against Washington. It would've been cool to see Ohtani pitch the home opener, but it's even cooler to see the Angels finally maximize his starts. Sandoval is under a lot of pressure as the number two starter, let's hope he comes through.