LEADING OFF: Ohtani’s strikeout streak, Giants’ losing skid
A look at what’s happening around the majors on Thursday:
Los Angeles Angels two-way force Shohei Ohtani has struck out at least 10 batters in five straight starts going into this outing at home against Texas.
Ohtani (9-5, 2.80) has joined Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan as the only pitchers in Angels history to have such a streak. Ryan set a franchise-record string of seven in a row in 1977, and also a six-game run of double-digit strikeouts spanning 1972-73.
Ohtani has fanned 134 in 93 1/3 innings this season. The reigning AL MVP is 0-1 in two starts against the Rangers this year.
A GIANT SKID
Joc Pederson, Brandon Belt and San Francisco hope to regain their winning touch when they return home after an 0-7 road trip.
The Giants won five of their six games before the All-Star break, but hasn’t won since. They suffered a four-game sweep by the Dodgers in Los Angeles for the first time since 1995 over the weekend and then stumbled in Arizona.
It was the Giants’ first 0-7 road trip since 1985.
Lefty Alex Wood (6-8, 4.21 ERA) faces Cubs left-hander Justin Steele (4-6, 4.02 ERA) in the series opener.
CALLING AN ANGEL
Angels star Mike Trout has a “rare” spinal condition that could affect him for the rest of his career. But he received a cortisone injection last week and plans to play again this season.
After Angels trainer Mike Forstad talked about Trout’s condition on Wednesday, the reaction was swift — and over the top, according to the 10-time All-Star.
“I got back and my phone was blowing up: ‘My career is over,'” Trout said, smiling at the absurdity of the overreactions he had seen online. “It’s just rare for a baseball player. I just have to stay on top of it.”
Trout left a game against Houston on July 12 with what was first called back spasms, then went on the injured list a week later with what was called rib cage inflammation.
BACK IN THE BRONX
After playing their first seven games since the All-Star break on the road (four against first-place teams), major league home run leader Aaron Judge and the Yankees welcome struggling Kansas City to the Bronx.
Jameson Taillon (10-2, 3.93 ERA) pitches for New York against Brady Singer (4-3, 3.82) in the opener of a seven-game homestand. Taillon walked a season-high three in a season-low 2 2/3 innings last Friday at Baltimore. The right-hander is 1-0 with a 0.47 ERA in three career starts versus the Royals.
New York swept a three-game set in Kansas City from April 29 to May 1 and is 31-12 against the Royals since 2015, winning each of the past 12 series (minimum two games) since May 25, 2015. The Yankees are 107-46 (.699) versus Kansas City this century, their best record against any AL opponent during that span.
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