The Los Angeles Angels can credit a number of players for their hot start, but the name that continues to pop up is Japanese rookie Shohei Ohtani.
The designated hitter/pitcher has homered in three straight games and the Angels have won all three, but manager Mike Scioscia said he plans to keep Ohtani out of the lineup when Los Angeles hosts the Oakland A's at Angel Stadium on Saturday night.
Ohtani is scheduled to start on the mound Sunday in the series finale, and Scioscia is sticking with his plan to rest Ohtani the day before and the day after he pitches.
"He's doing a lot, but there's no doubt that you have to have some separation and get him ready to pitch," Scioscia said after Ohtani's solo home run sparked a six-run comeback in a 12-9 victory over the A's on Friday night. "We'll let him recover and get ready to go."
The Angels (6-2) will try to maintain their April pace against a pitcher they struggled against early last season.
Andrew Triggs (0-0, 1.80) is scheduled to make his second start of the season for Oakland (3-6). The right-hander with the unusual side-arm delivery posted two of his five victories against Los Angeles last season before undergoing season-ending hip surgery in June.
The 29-year-old USC graduate made his return Monday against the Texas Rangers and allowed one run and four hits in five innings, striking out seven and walking three. He left with the score tied 1-1, and the A's went on to win 3-1 after losing their previous three games to the visiting Angels.
"I hadn't really given a whole lot of thought to how long it had been since I was in a real game, because you get through an entire spring training and kind of feel like you get your legs back under you," Triggs told MLB.com. "But it was nice to get back out there."
Triggs is 2-0 overall in four career appearances, including three starts, against Los Angeles with a 1.06 ERA in 17 innings.
Since giving up a solo home run to Mike Trout on June 18, 2016, Triggs has allowed one earned run in his past 14 innings against the Angels. That run came after Triggs walked the first three batters of the game on May 10 in Oakland, but he came back to pitch six innings in the 3-1 win.
Angels starter JC Ramirez (0-1, 7.71 ERA) went 4 2/3 innings his first start on Monday, allowing five runs (four earned) and five hits in the 6-0 loss to the visiting Cleveland Indians.
Shortly after he was converted to a starting pitcher early last season, Ramirez threw seven shutout innings against the A's on April 25, his only start in 10 career appearances against Oakland. He didn't earn a decision in that game because it remained scoreless into extra innings before the Angels won 2-1 on a walk-off home run by Trout in the 11th.
Ramirez also made two appearances out of the bullpen against Oakland last April, and is 2-1 overall in his career against the A's with a 2.95 ERA.
Ramirez made 24 starts last season and led the Angels in wins with 11. His season was cut six weeks short, however, when he was diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing arm. He bypassed surgery in favor of stem-cell therapy.
Oakland designated hitter Khris Davis is 4-for-6 in his career against Ramirez with a home run, and shortstop Marcus Semien is 2-for-3 with a home run.