Shohei Ohtani, Nathan Eovaldi to duel in Angels-Rangers finale


A pair of aces will duel it out in a four-game series finale between the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels on Thursday in Arlington, Texas

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The Rangers will look for a split behind right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (9-2, 2.49 ERA), while the Angels go for a series win with right-hander Shohei Ohtani (5-2, 3.32)

Texas snapped a three-game losing streak with a 6-3 victory Wednesday. It was just the second loss in the last 10 games for the Angels

For the Rangers, Eovaldi is among the early contenders for the American League Cy Young Award, ranking second among qualified AL pitchers in wins (nine) and innings (86 2/3), fifth in WHIP (0.98) and sixth in ERA (2.49) entering Thursday

Eovaldi is 8-0 with a 1.65 ERA over his last 10 starts, including earning a victory in his last start at Tampa Bay on Saturday. He allowed four runs on seven hits with six strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings against the Rays.

The 10-start stretch also includes a terrific start against the Angels on May 6 as Eovaldi threw eight scoreless innings with five strikeouts in a Rangers‘ 10-1 victory. In his career vs. the Angels, Eovaldi is 4-2 with a 3.86 ERA in 12 games, including 10 starts

Offensively, the Rangers found their power stroke Tuesday. They hit three home runs, including back-to-back shots by Marcus Semien and Corey Seager in the seventh inning to take the lead. Leody Taveras hit a solo home run in the third

Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said the offense’s performance was “really big,” especially with how much the team has been relying on the bullpen of late. But Texas’ relievers relish being in high-leverage situations

“That’s why we play the game,” said right-hander Grant Anderson, who threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings Wednesday. “It’s fun. You know you’ve gotta be good and have your best self.”

For the Angels, Ohtani is hoping to carry his success at the plate to the mound. He has hit three home runs in the series, including a two-run shot Wednesday. He’ll take the mound for the first time against the Rangers this season

Ohtani has made seven career starts vs. the Rangers, going 3-2 with a 4.06 ERA. Two of those three wins have come at Globe Life Field

In his last start vs. Seattle on Friday, Ohtani allowed three runs on three hits with five walks and six strikeouts over five innings in a no-decision effort.

Offensively, outside of Ohtani, Anthony Rendon produced the only other RBI on Wednesday with a bloop double in the third inning.

On the injury front, the Angels are awaiting word on shortstop Zach Neto, who exited Wednesday’s game in the second inning for what the team called “precautionary reasons due to cramping in his left side.

Angels manager Phil Nevin said afterward that Neto felt the issue after making a throw

“Hopefully it is just a cramp,” Nevin said. “We’ll get it looked at in the morning (Thursday) to determine what we’re going to do.”

When Neto exited Wednesday, the Angels shifted their infield with Luis Rengifo moving from second base to shortstop and Brandon Drury moving from first base to second base

–Field Level Media


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