Ohtani makes fourth start for Angels
HOUSTON (AP) — Shohei Ohtani makes his fourth major league start for the Los Angeles Angels, this one against Charlie Morton and the World Series champion Houston Astros.
Ohtani, the two-way rookie sensation from Japan, left his previous outing against Boston after only two innings because of a blister on his right middle finger. He threw a bullpen Sunday and is set to face Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer and the powerful Astros.
Morton, meanwhile, has 33 strikeouts in 25 innings. He has allowed only six walks and 16 hits.
Elsewhere in the majors:
— Cleveland opens an 11-game homestand with an interleague series against the Cubs, the first meeting between the teams since Chicago won the 2016 World Series in seven games to end a 108-year championship drought. Josh Tomlin pitches for the AL Central-leading Indians against Cubs newcomer Tyler Chatwood.
— Boston right-hander Rick Porcello faces the Blue Jays as the major league-leading Red Sox try to get rolling again after two consecutive losses last weekend in Oakland. The 2016 AL Cy Young Award winner has thrown 13 straight scoreless innings over his past two starts. With a day off Monday in Toronto, a large group of Red Sox attended Game 6 of the NHL playoff series between the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs. Mitch Marner and the Maple Leafs won 3-1 to force a decisive Game 7 on Wednesday night in Boston.
— Dating to last year, Minnesota second baseman Brian Dozier has hit safely in 24 straight games — including a club-record 17 in a row to begin this season. He’ll attempt to extend his streak when the Twins play the second game of their series at Yankee Stadium. On the mound for Minnesota is Jose Berrios, coming off consecutive scoreless starts that lasted seven innings each. Berrios has permitted exactly three hits and no runs in three of his four outings this year. The right-hander lost last year’s AL wild-card game at Yankee Stadium in relief.
— Travis Shaw and the Brewers try to run their winning streak to seven games when they play at struggling Kansas City, which is 1-7 at home.
— The surprising Phillies, who are 14-and-7, look to win their fifth straight when they take on Robbie Ray and the 15-and-6 Diamondbacks, who have the National League’s best record.
— Texas lefty Cole Hamels tries to avoid a career first when he pitches at home against Oakland. He’s 1-and-3 so far this season, and Hamels has never had four losses by the end of April. He has lost four home starts in a row, including both this season. If the Rangers keep him on his regular turn, Hamels could also start another game in April — next Monday at Cleveland — before the calendar switches to May the next day.
76ers look to be the first into Eastern semis
UNDATED (AP) — The Philadelphia 76ers can become the first team into the Eastern Conference semifinals when they host the Miami Heat tonight in Game 5 of the only East series that isn’t tied. Joel Embiid will see his first playoff action at home. Embiid was still sidelined while recovering from a broken orbital bone around his left eye for the first two games in Philadelphia, then returned to help the 76ers win Games 3 and 4 in Miami.
Also tonight, the Golden State Warriors get their second chance to eliminate San Antonio. Golden State missed its first chance to move on when San Antonio won 103-90 on Sunday. And the Celtics and Bucks return to Boston for Game 5 of a series in which the home team has won every game.
Capitals advance to face Penguins
UNDATED (AP) — After dropping the first two playoff games at home in overtime, the Washington Capitals picked up momentum that only got stronger as they took down the Columbus Blue Jackets in four straight. Now they’ll strive to keep the intensity high as they advance to a second-round rematch with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Capitals, who manhandled the Blue Jackets 6-3 on Monday to cap the opening round series, are looking to avenge second-round playoff losses to Pittsburgh in each of the past two seasons.
In other first-round action last night, Frederik Andersen stopped 32 shots to help Toronto force a decisive Game 7 in the first-round series against the Bruins. Game 7 is Wednesday night in Boston with the winner advancing to face Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference semifinals.