Los Angeles Angels right-hander Shohei Ohtani departed after five innings on Saturday with a blister on his right index finger but pitched effectively enough to pace a 6-1 win over the Houston Astros.
Ohtani helped the Angels square the three-game series by allowing just one run on six hits and two walks with seven strikeouts. He had one plate appearance following his exit from the mound in the fifth inning.
“(It was) more getting him out of there before it opens,” Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said. “He’s had them before. He manages his body as well as anybody, and if that thing rips open, it probably puts his next start in jeopardy. So he got out of there before it did that.
“He was able to hit, but before his last at-bat I told him, ‘Hey, I don’t want to chance anything.’ He should be good. We’re going to check it (Sunday) morning to see if he can DH (in the series finale).”
Angels rookie left-hander Tucker Davidson (2-5, 6.42 ERA) will start the season-series finale against Houston on Sunday.
He is 1-3 with a 6.39 ERA in five starts since joining the Angels via trade from Atlanta on Aug. 2. He earned his first victory with the Angels after allowing two runs on four hits and one walk with three strikeouts over six innings in a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Twins on Aug. 14.
Davidson will make his second career appearance against the Astros after surrendering seven runs on seven hits and two walks with four strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings in a 9-1 loss on Sept. 4.
Right-hander Luis Garcia (11-8, 3.99) has the starting assignment for Houston on Sunday.
He is unbeaten over his last four starts, going 3-0 with a 4.30 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 23 innings. That includes a start against the Angels on Sept. 3, during which Garcia allowed one run on three hits and two walks with seven strikeouts over seven innings while not factoring into the decision of a 2-1 loss.
It marked the first time in almost two months that Garcia allowed less than two earned runs in a start, a span of seven appearances.
Garcia is 2-2 with a 3.28 ERA over 10 career appearances (eight starts) against the Angels, including a 1-0 record and 2.41 ERA in three starts this season. Garcia has recorded 21 strikeouts over 18 2/3 innings against the Angels in 2022.
Astros right-hander Justin Verlander threw a 30-pitch bullpen on Friday and is scheduled to toss another on Sunday. He landed on the 15-day injured list with an injured right calf on Aug. 28, and he remains on pace to return soon enough to reclaim his spot in the rotation in advance of the postseason.
Verlander leads the American League in wins (16) and paces the majors in ERA (1.84) and WHIP (0.855).
“We don’t want to rush him back, but we’ve got to get him back for at least a couple starts prior to the end of the season,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said.
–Field Level Media