MLB Little League Classic 2021: Four things to know for Angels vs. Cleveland with all eyes on Shohei Ohtani – CBS Sports

The Los Angeles Angels and Cleveland will square off in the 2021 edition Major League Baseball’s Little League Classic on Sunday night. The game will be played at Bowman Field in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, just miles away from the ongoing Little League World Series.

Below, you can find four things you need to know about the 2021 Little League Classic. First, though, here’s how to watch the game:

2021 Little League Classic

  • When: Sunday, 7:08 p.m. ET | Where: Bowman Field (Williamsport, Pa.)
  • TV channel: ESPN | Live stream: fuboTV (try for free)
  • Pitching matchup: Cal Quantrill (CLE) Vs. José Suarez (LAA)
  • Odds: CLE: -130; LAA: +120; O/U: 9 (via Caesars Sportsbook)

1. This is the fourth Little League Classic

MLB launched the Little League Classic in 2017 as a way of lending support to the Little League World Series. Each year (with the exception of 2020 because of the global pandemic), the Classic has included MLB players interacting with their young ball playing counterparts before partaking in a game themselves. Bowman Field holds just over 2,500 fans, making it an exclusive event.

This is the first time either the Angels or Cleveland will partake in the Little League Classic. In previous matchups, the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the St. Louis Cardinals; the New York Mets topped the Philadelphia Phillies; and the Chicago Cubs beat the Pirates. Last year’s Classic was supposed to feature the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles

The Little League World Series is held in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The event normally has 16 teams, with eight from the U.S. and eight international squads. Due to the pandemic, however, the 2021 Little League World Series has 16 U.S. teams and limited attendance. The event kicked off on Thursday.

2. Themed uniforms make return

One of the neat aspects of the Classic is that both teams wear Little League-inspired uniforms. This year’s threads include little touches like their “region.” 

Here’s a look at what both teams will be wearing come Sunday night:

3. All eyes on Ohtani

Angels outfielder Mike Trout won’t be able to partake in the Classic because of his hamstring injury. He has, however, done an admirable job of serving as the hype man for two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani, who could well win this year’s American League Most Valuable Player Award.

“If it’s any reaction like he gets at the ballpark I’m sure it’s going to be pretty exciting,” Trout told USA Today. “I’m trying to have him take batting practice at the Little League Field, see how far he can hit them. That’d be pretty fun. What he’s doing on the field, I can’t put anything else to it. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Ohtani enters Sunday night hitting .269/.363/.638 (162 OPS+) with 40 home runs in 119 games. He’s also thrown 100 innings on the year, with a 2.79 ERA (166 ERA+) and a 3.08 strikeout-to-walk ratio to boot.

4. Promising pitching matchup

José Suarez and Cal Quantrill aren’t household names, but they’re both young pitchers having quality seasons who could make for an entertaining duel.

Suarez, a 23-year-old lefty with a low release point, has a 3.88 ERA (120 ERA+) and a 2.39 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his first 16 appearances this season. He relies on three pitches: a low-90s fastball, a changeup, and a curveball. 

Quantrill, a 26-year-old righty, has a 3.24 ERA (140 ERA+) and a 2.35 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 33 appearances. Quantrill, originally acquired as part of last summer’s Mike Clevinger trade, leans on his sinker and slider. He’ll also throw a four-seam fastball and a changeup to keep batters honest.