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Angels-A’s series opener to have a familiar feel

The Los Angeles Angels hope to have Shohei Ohtani available when they begin a rematch series against the host Oakland Athletics on Monday night.

The Athletics took two of three in Anaheim last week, rebounding from a 3-1 defeat in the opener last Tuesday to win 3-1 and 8-7 to take the series.

Oakland beat Ohtani (the pitcher) in the middle game, then overcame his two home runs — part of a seven-homer Angels barrage — to claim the finale.

Ohtani is scheduled to pitch Tuesday in Oakland, but he got spiked on top of his left foot when he collided with Seattle Mariners pitcher Marco Gonzales in a freak accident during Sunday’s 6-3 loss in Seattle.

Ohtani, the on-deck batter when Taylor Ward singled to left field in the third inning, moved into the vicinity of home plate as he aided Angels baserunner Phil Gosselin, who tried unsuccessfully to score from second base.

Gonzales and Ohtani crossed paths as the pitcher was getting into position to back up his catcher, with both players suffering what appeared at the time to be minor injuries.

The Angels immediately checked on Ohtani and deemed him healthy enough to bat. Serving at the designated hitter, he struck out to end the inning, but singled in the fifth inning and clearly favored his left side as he jogged to first base.

He was able to complete the game and went 1-for-4, and after the game, interim manager Phil Nevin said Ohtani “is fine.”

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The injury occurred one day after new Angels center fielder Mickey Moniak suffered a fractured left middle finger on a bunt single in the ninth inning.

Moniak took an optimistic approach to a break he labeled not very significant.

“I think it’s encouraging,” he said of the review of his X-rays. “I’m going to try my best to get back out there this season.”

If Ohtani is able to bat on Monday, he would be facing Athletic left-hander Cole Irvin (6-8, 3.04 ERA). Ohtani is 7-for-22 (.318) with two homers, three doubles and three RBIs against Irvin.

Irvin pitched last week’s series opener against the Angels, taking the loss. He has suffered from a lack of support in 4-1 and 3-1 losses to Los Angeles this season, allowing just five earned runs in 12 innings in those outings.

The Anaheim, Calif., native has started seven times in his career against his hometown team, going 2-4 with a 3.14 ERA.

Irvin dueled Angels left-hander Jose Suarez (3-4, 4.55) on Tuesday, and is scheduled to do so again in the series opener this week.

Suarez hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last two starts, including the 3-1 win over the A’s in which he gave up just one unearned run in five innings.

The 24-year-old has gone 2-2 with a 3.00 ERA in six games, including three starts, against the A’s in his career.

A’s manager Mark Kotsay could possibly take a new approach to Suarez in the rematch, potentially starting his hottest hitter — outfielder Seth Brown — in what would be a lefty-lefty matchup.

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Brown was held out of the starting lineup last Tuesday, then went 3-for-6, with a double and a homer, in the other two games.

Brown also homered Sunday in the A’s 6-4 home loss to the San Francisco Giants, his fifth in his last six starts.

“He’s starting to take the baseball the other way,” Kotsay said after Sunday’s loss. “A while back, we talked about the fact that if he stayed with that approach, that at the end of the year, he’d be pretty satisfied with his numbers. I think he’s in line right now moving in that direction.”


www.yardbarker.com

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