Angels’ Ohtani returns to mound in series opener vs. Rangers


Shohei Ohtani is apparently healthy enough to take the mound and help the Los Angeles Angels attempt to continue their recent success over the Texas Rangers.

Ohtani looks to bounce back from a rather rough outing when the Angels try for a fourth consecutive victory over the visiting Rangers on Friday night at Anaheim, Calif.

The Angels’ two-way star was originally slated to throw against the New York Yankees on Tuesday, but manager Joe Maddon pushed him back after Ohtani was hit in the right wrist area with a pitch on Saturday.

Following a successful bullpen session from Wednesday, Ohtani was deemed ready to take the ball for the series opener. He will stay in the rotation down the stretch for Los Angeles (66-68), which saw its three-game winning streak end with Wednesday’s 4-1 home loss to the New York Yankees.

“He’s good,” Maddon told reporters. “There are no plans to shut him down. The plan is for him to continue to have him do both.”

The American League MVP frontrunner, Ohtani (8-1, 3.00 ERA) allowed seven runs over 40 innings while going 5-0 in six starts from July 6-Aug. 18. Then in his most recent outing on Aug. 25, the right-hander yielded four runs on three homers over five innings while not factoring in the decision of Los Angeles’ 10-6 loss to Baltimore.

Ohtani, 27, is 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA in three starts against the Rangers, and allowed a run and four hits and struck out six without a walk over six innings of a 2-1 victory at Texas on Aug. 4. At the plate, Ohtani is batting just .205 with two of his MLB-leading 42 home runs and 16 strikeouts in 11 games against the Rangers in 2021.

The Angels, however, have not needed much help from Ohtani (1-for-18 in his last five games overall) while winning six of the last seven versus Texas. Meanwhile, fellow Angels’ All-Star Jared Walsh is 12-for-30 with one homer and five RBIs against the Rangers this season.

Ohtani, Walsh and the rest of the Angels will get their first look at Texas’ Glenn Otto (0-0) in the opener of the four-game series. The right-hander looks to build on his strong major league debut from last Friday, when he allowed two hits and struck out seven without a walk over five scoreless innings of a 5-4 loss to Houston.

The 25-year-old Otto, a Texas native who came over from the Yankees in the July deal that involved Joey Gallo, became the sixth pitcher in Rangers history to fan seven or more batters in his big-league debut, according to the club.

“That’s why you trade your best players — so you get good ones that are young and that you know you’re going to have for a while,” manager Chris Woodward said. “And it’s exciting.”

Texas also saw a three-game winning streak end with a loss Wednesday, 9-5 to Colorado. Rangers’ infielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa is 3-for-19 in five contests following his nine-game hitting streak, but is 3-for-9 with a double versus Ohtani.

Meanwhile, Texas star Adolis Garcia is 0-for-4 with three walks and a strikeout against Ohtani. He’s 1-for-10 in his last three games overall.

–Field Level Media

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