LEADING OFF: Ohtani faces champs; Cubs-Indians rematch
A look at what’s happening around the majors today:
Shohei Ohtani (2-1, 3.60 ERA) makes his fourth major league start for the Los Angeles Angels, this one against Charlie Morton (3-0, 0.72) and the World Series champion Houston Astros. Ohtani, the two-way rookie sensation from Japan, left his previous outing against Boston after only two innings because of a blister on his right middle finger. He threw a bullpen Sunday and is set to face Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer and the powerful Astros. Morton, meanwhile, has 33 strikeouts in 25 innings. He has allowed only six walks and 16 hits.
Cleveland opens an 11-game homestand with an interleague series against the Cubs, the first meeting between the teams since Chicago won the 2016 World Series in seven games to end a 108-year championship drought. Josh Tomlin (0-2) pitches for the AL Central-leading Indians against Cubs newcomer Tyler Chatwood (0-3).
NORTH OF THE BORDER
Boston right-hander Rick Porcello (4-0, 1.40 ERA) faces the Blue Jays as the major league-leading Red Sox (17-4) try to get rolling again after two consecutive losses last weekend in Oakland. The 2016 AL Cy Young Award winner has thrown 13 straight scoreless innings over his past two starts. With a day off Monday in Toronto, a large group of Red Sox attended Game 6 of the NHL playoff series between the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs. Mitch Marner and the Maple Leafs won 3-1 to force a decisive Game 7 on Wednesday night in Boston.
STREAKS ON THE LINE
Dating to last year, Minnesota second baseman Brian Dozier has hit safely in 24 straight games – including a club-record 17 in a row to begin this season. He’ll attempt to extend his streak when the Twins play the second game of their series at Yankee Stadium. On the mound for Minnesota is Jose Berrios (2-1, 1.63 ERA), coming off consecutive scoreless starts that lasted seven innings each. Berrios has permitted exactly three hits and no runs in three of his four outings this year. The right-hander lost last year’s AL wild-card game at Yankee Stadium in relief. … Travis Shaw and the Brewers try to run their winning streak to seven games when they play at struggling Kansas City, which is 1-7 at home. … The surprising Phillies (14-7) look to win their fifth straight when they take on Robbie Ray (2-0, 4.98 ERA) and the NL-best Diamondbacks (15-6).
Texas lefty Cole Hamels (1-3, 4.76 ERA) tries to avoid a career first when he pitches at home against Oakland. Hamels has never had four losses by the end of April. He has lost four home starts in a row, including both this season. If the Rangers keep him on his regular turn, Hamels could also start another game in April – next Monday at Cleveland – before the calendar switches to May the next day.
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