Max Scherzer has faced 11,879 batters in his 16 years in the majors, regular and postseason combined, but he has never stared down Shohei Ohtani
The 39-year-old right-hander, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, should get the chance when he takes the mound for the Texas Rangers in the opener of a three-game series against the visiting Los Angeles Angels on Monday night
Ohtani is expected to be back in his familiar designated hitter spot, and the 2021 AL MVP should be eager to see what he can accomplish against Scherzer, who hasn’t pitched against the Angels since the 2014 season, four years before Ohtani arrived in Anaheim
Ohtani was leading the majors in home runs until Matt Olson of the Atlanta Braves hit one on Thursday, two more Saturday and one on Sunday to move ahead with 43
After blasting 14 home runs in a 25-game stretch from June 26 to July 28, Ohtani’s pace has slowed dramatically. He has connected on just two home runs in the past 15 games and went eight games without one before hitting his 41st of the season in a 2-1 win against the Houston Astros on Sunday
Scherzer (11-4, 3.88 ERA) won his first two starts with Texas following his trade from the New York Mets at the end of July and owns three straight wins overall
He most recently took limited a weak Oakland squad to one run and three hits in seven innings of a 6-1 win on Tuesday
“That’s just a typical Scherzer outing,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said. “He knows how to pitch. That’s why he’s been so successful in his career and why the Rangers went out and got him — to eat innings and be a big-time performer.
Scherzer made his team debut against another struggling team, the Chicago White Sox, and held them to three runs and seven hits in six innings of a 5-3 win on Aug. 3
“It’s great to get that type of run support,” Scherzer said. “Hopefully, these guys keep banging away for the rest of the way. They’ve got a great thing going, so it’s fun to watch.
Scherzer has faced the Angels six times in his career and is 4-1 with a 2.45 ERA
The Angels plan to start left-hander Patrick Sandoval
Sandoval (6-8, 3.86) is going through a solid stretch of his own, posting a 2-1 mark and 1.86 ERA over his past five starts
He limited the San Francisco Giants to two runs and five hits over 6 2/3 innings on Aug. 7. He entered the seventh inning with a 2-1 lead but surrendered a leadoff home run, and the Angels eventually fell apart in the 8-3 loss
“It’s a tough game, a tough pill to swallow,” Sandoval said. “Obviously, I’m not happy with myself giving them the opportunity to tie it right after we take the lead. I just feel like I got to make better pitches in those kinds of situations.
Sandoval will try to pick up where his pitching staff left off in the 2-1 win against the Astros on Sunday, preventing the Angels from getting swept
“It’s just not going our way right now,” Sandoval said. “This team fights every single day. This is a close group. You can see the look on everyone’s faces. We’re not happy with the results, but we know what we’re capable of.
Sandoval is 1-2 in six career appearances against the Rangers, including five starts, with a 3.07 ERA
–Field Level Medi
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