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What to watch for Sunday in MLB: Angels’ Ohtani returns to mound, Nola vs Lester

Los Angeles Angels' Shohei Ohtani, of Japan, warms up during practice before a baseball game against the Houston Astros, Friday, Aug. 24, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) ORG XMIT: ANS103 (Jae C. Hong / AP)
Los Angeles Angels' Shohei Ohtani, of Japan, warms up during practice before a baseball game against the Houston Astros, Friday, Aug. 24, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) ORG XMIT: ANS103 (Jae C. Hong / AP)

Los Angeles Angels rookie Shohei Ohtani is set to pitch again, and will start against the Astros at Minute Maid Park. The two-way sensation from Japan hasn’t been on the mound in the majors since spraining the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow nearly three months ago.

Ohtani excelled in his first nine starts before getting hurt, going 4-1 with a 3.10 ERA. He’s continued to do well at the plate as a designated hitter.

Gerrit Cole (12-5, 2.85) starts for A.L. West-leading Houston.

Aces: It’s a marquee matchup at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia when Aaron Nola (15-3, 2.10 ERA) starts for playoff-contending Philadelphia vs. lefty Jon Lester (14-5, 3.67) and the N.L. Central-leading Cubs. Nola has given up more than two runs just once in his last 12 starts, building his case for the Cy Young Award.

Start him up: Twins manager Paul Molitor says he will use a reliever as the starter in the series finale at Texas, and is leaning toward lefty Gabriel Moya. Molitor said Zack Littell, who has been with Triple-A Rochester since early July, likely will be used as the next pitcher.

It would be the 23-year-old Moya’s first career start after 31 relief appearances over two seasons. Moya pitched a scoreless inning Friday in a 10-7 win. Littell, a 22-year-old righty, made his major league debut in June and was primarily a starter in the minors.

“I talked to Zack today about it and I gave him a little heads-up before I talked to the pitchers as a whole, just in case you guys were asked about what he was going to do and he didn’t know,” Molitor said. “I think he said two or three times where he’s gone through it.”


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