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Angels vs. Texas Rangers: Latest news from the AL West series

Angels catcher Kurt Suzuki is congratulated at the dugout after hitting a home run against the Texas Rangers.
Angels catcher Kurt Suzuki is congratulated after hitting a two-run home run during the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
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The Angels had a couple of unplanned days off this weekend after the postponement of two games against Minnesota. They lost to the Texas Rangers on Monday 6-4 and beat the Rangers 6-2 on Tuesday. The two teams conclude their series at Angel Stadium on Wednesday at 1:07 p.m. PDT.

Continue visiting this thread for coverage throughout the series.

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Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani has elite stuff. Now he just needs to work on his command

Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani blows on his hand after walking a third Texas Rangers batter.
Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani blows on his hand after walking a third Texas Rangers batter in the first inning Tuesday at Angel Stadium.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg.

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Those were the names that Angels catcher Kurt Suzuki referenced Tuesday night, when the veteran backstop was asked to compare Shohei Ohtani to other pitchers he’s caught during his 15 MLB seasons.

“Honestly, it’s some of the best stuff I’ve caught,” Suzuki said. “I put his stuff up there with those guys. He is a special talent.”

There were moments Tuesday night, when Ohtani returned from a 16-day layoff caused by a blister to throw four scoreless innings against the Texas Rangers, that such dominance was clear.

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Shohei Ohtani effectively wild in return to mound in Angels’ win over Rangers

Shohei Ohtani pitched four scoreless innings against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday at Angel Stadium.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Shohei Ohtani hopped off the mound and strode confidently toward the dugout after his fourth-inning strikeout of Isiah Kiner-Falefa Tuesday night, the Angels right-hander exuding a swagger that belied his indignance toward an erratic but scoreless start that seemed to raise as much concern as hope.

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The blister on the middle finger of Ohtani’s pitching hand that relegated the two-way star to just hitting for two weeks was not an issue, at least physically. Ohtani threw 80 pitches, five more than his soft 75-pitch limit, giving up one hit, striking out seven and walking six in a 6-2 win over the Texas Rangers.

While his average fastball velocity of 95.6 mph was down from 98.1mph in his previous start April 4, Ohtani’s final three four-seamers of the game clocked in at 97mph or above, and his split-fingered fastball was devastating, the finishing pitch to six of his seven strikeout victims.

But Ohtani had trouble locating his fastball and threw only 37 of 80 pitches for strikes. He fell behind at some point on 13 of the 19 batters he faced. Four walks came on four pitches.

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Shohei Ohtani will be under close watch as he tries to move on from blister problem

Shohei Ohtani will make his first start on the mound since April 4 on Tuesday night against the Texas Rangers.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

The red flags for Shohei Ohtani, the warning signs that the blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand is starting to heat up, are obvious. The Angels right-hander will start looking at his fingers between pitches. He’ll get a little fidgety on the mound. His command will start to waver.

“We’re at a point where we’re secure and feel good enough that he’s going to go out there and it’s not going to be an issue,” Angels interim pitching coach Matt Wise said Tuesday afternoon, “but it’s going to be one of those things we monitor very closely and keep an eye on him.”

Ohtani will take the mound Tuesday night against the Texas Rangers in Angel Stadium, his first start since April 4, when his blister flared up against the Chicago White Sox and relegated the two-way star to only hitting for the next two weeks.

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Betting lines and odds for Angels vs. Texas Rangers on Tuesday

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani delivers a pitch.
Shohei Ohtani will start for the Angels against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

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After falling to the Texas Rangers 6-4 on Monday, the Angels hope two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani can help them get back on the winning track.

Ohtani is pitching for the first time since April 4, when he fell awkwardly trying to make a catch at home plate against the Chicago White Sox. In that start he issued five walks, but only one of the three runs he allowed in 4 2/3 innings was earned.

The Rangers will look to Jordan Lyles to continue his improvement. His first eight starts of 2020 saw him post an 8.19 ERA with opponents hitting .299 and drawing 4.2 walks per nine innings. In his most recent six starts dating back to the end on the 2020, Lyles has given up three runs or fewer in all but one game, with a 4.75 ERA.

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Rusty Angels fall short in late rally against Rangers

Angels batter Shohei Ohtani loses his helmet as he swings to strike out against the Texas Rangers on Monday.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Shohei Ohtani crushed a Kohei Arihara changeup to deep center field in the fourth inning Monday night, the Angels slugger so sure he had homered off his former Nippon Ham Fighters teammate that he tossed his bat aside and broke into a trot.

Seconds later, some 400 feet away, Texas center fielder Adolis Garcia made a leaping catch of Ohtani’s drive at the top of the wall, the play emblematic of an Angels effort that fell just a bit short in a 6-4 loss to the Rangers before a crowd of 11,396 in Angel Stadium.

“Honestly, I felt like it was gonna be gone off the bat,” Ohtani said through an interpreter. “It was actually one of the better swings I’ve put on the ball this season. I feel like the wind kind of brought it back a little bit. I was happy with the approach; I just didn’t get the right results.”

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Mike Trout’s on fire, but other things are going right for Angels too

Mike Trout drops the bat and takes off running for first base after getting a hit
Mike Trout
(Mike Carlson / Associated Press)

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After a couple of unexpected off days this weekend following the postponement of two games against the Minnesota Twins, the Angels return to action Monday night against the Texas Rangers.

The team begins the day with an 8-5 record, its second-best 13-game start to a season since 2012.

Here are five observations from their opening two-plus weeks.

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