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“SHOTIME” Ready To Rock & Roll Under The Friday Night Lights

Shohei Ohtani Returns To The Pitching Rotation Just In Time To Make His 4th Start Of The Year (And Bat 2nd) Against The Texas Rangers

New York Yankees v Los Angeles Angels Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

Following a playoff-like atmosphere versus the New York Yankees that saw the Angels take two of three and win the overall season series for the first time since 2017, the Halos set their sights on finishing this nine-game homestand strong as they welcome their AL West foe, Texas Rangers, for a four-game series.

Ohtani missed his previous scheduled start on Tuesday for precautionary reasons after getting hit in the right wrist last Saturday against the San Diego Padres. With extra time to recover, the two-way phenom enters 8-1 with a 3.00 ERA in 19 starts, while adding 127 strikeouts in 105 innings pitched. Against Texas this season, Ohtani has flexed his muscles going 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA and a split of 8 walks to 22 strikeouts. The last time he faced the Rangers was on August 4, where he spun a quality start, yielding just one earned run over six innings.

The 27-year-old has turned up the dial on his dynamic pitching ever since the calendar turned to July. In seven trips to the mound, Ohtani secured wins in five starts (four consecutively between July 26-August 18) with a 2.20 ERA and a sub-one WHIP of 0.78. To make matters even greater for the AL MVP frontrunner, on days he pitches, he swings for a .240 average (12-for-50) with a home run, seven runs batted in and five walks.

For manager Chris Woodward, he will tab right-hander Glenn Otto for his second career start. Otto, the Spring, TX native, was one of four players acquired by the Rangers on July 30 in the deal that sent outfielder Joey Gallo to the Yankees. In 17 minor league games across three different teams this season, Otto tossed a 9-4 record with a 3.20 ERA in 95.2 innings pitched. He made a splash during his MLB debut against the Houston Astros on August 27, tossing five innings of two-hit baseball while fanning seven.

How The Matchup Stacks Up

The Angels currently lead the season series against the Rangers 8-4 (5-2 at Globe Life Field and 3-2 at Angel Stadium) with seven matchups remaining this season. The Rangers are the only team within the AL West division the Angels have a winning record against (21-32 overall), which is the main contributing factor for why they are currently 12.5 games back of first in the division and 10 in the wild card. Diving into the numbers, the Halos find themselves in the driver seat in all major offensive categories during this head-to-head season series.

Angels - .281 Avg. | 117 Hits | 67 Runs Scored | 19 Doubles | 19 Home Runs

Rangers - .207 Avg. | 80 Hits | 49 Runs Scored | 16 Doubles | 13 Home Runs

Player To Watch

Since Joe Maddon’s public endorsement of Jack Mayfield getting more playing time at shortstop so the organization can get a better look at him for the future, it sparked the former Oklahoma Sooner in the batter’s box the past week. In five games, Mayfield is batting .357 (5-for-14) with 2 HR, 6 RBI and 5 runs scored. Mayfield has found success against the Rangers as well this season, dropping a .350 average with 2 HR and 5 RBI in six games. His biggest hit was a solo-home run on August 4, which proved to be the game-winning in a 2-1 Angels victory.

Since the All-Star break, Mayfield has performed above expectations at the level of the four elite shortstops that will soon be free-agents at the end of the season. Here are the splits between Mayfield, Javier Baez, Corey Seager, Carlos Correa and Trevor Story since the All-Star break:

Angels News & Notes

  • Angels select the contract of RHP Jason Junk from Double-A Rocket City Trash Pandas
  • INF Jose Iglesias has been released - Played in 114 games while batting .259 with 8 HR, 41 RBI, 57 R and 23 Doubles. According to Joe Maddon, his departure is to clear up playing time for players like Jack Mayfield and Luis Rengifo. Also it gives Iglesias the ability to join a contending team towards the playoffs
  • LHP Reid Detmers and RHP Jose Marte are back at Angel Stadium and off the Covid-19 List. Their timetable to return is uncertain.
  • RHP Austin Warren has not returned to the team yet. He will hopefully be back within the next few days (Covid-19 related)