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Young's HR not enough as Halos fall in finale

MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- The Red Sox's potent offense and sturdy starting pitching were too much for the Angels again Thursday night, as Los Angeles fell, 8-2, and Boston completed a three-game sweep.

In his first start at Angel Stadium since 2016, Halos starter Nick Tropeano could not quiet Boston's red-hot bats, giving up five runs over 5 1/3 innings and taking the loss. Tropeano missed all of 2017 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in '16.

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ANAHEIM -- The Red Sox's potent offense and sturdy starting pitching were too much for the Angels again Thursday night, as Los Angeles fell, 8-2, and Boston completed a three-game sweep.

In his first start at Angel Stadium since 2016, Halos starter Nick Tropeano could not quiet Boston's red-hot bats, giving up five runs over 5 1/3 innings and taking the loss. Tropeano missed all of 2017 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in '16.

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The Angels were outscored, 27-3, in the series.

Tropeano had a rough start, as Mookie Betts hit a leadoff home run for the second time this series. Betts also had a leadoff homer on Tuesday, when he had his third career three-homer game.

The Angels scored more runs than they had the previous two games combined (one run on Tuesday and zero on Wednesday). Chris Young hit a solo homer in the fifth, and Zack Cozart had an RBI single in the second. Andrelton Simmons continued his strong offensive start by going 1-for-1 with three walks.

Video: BOS@LAA: Cozart grounds an RBI single to left

Two-way star Shohei Ohtani went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. It was his first career multi-strikeout game, and it was the first time he did not record a hit in eight starts at designated hitter.

"Simmons, the guy hitting in front of me, walked three times, he got on every at-bat, but I couldn't really extend the inning," Ohtani said through an interpreter. "Maybe if I drew a walk, or had gotten a base hit, I could've started something, but I wasn't able to do that."

Video: BOS@LAA: Ohtani, Scioscia on offensive struggles

Several other Angels hitters had a tough series. Kole Calhoun -- who didn't start, but entered as a pinch-hitter in the seventh -- went 0-for-2, as he did not record a hit all series and hasn't reached base in his last 12 plate appearances, and manager Mike Scioscia expressed concern before the game about Calhoun's comfort at the plate.

Justin Upton did not reach base in the series, either, going 0-for-12 in the three-game set.

"A lot of our guys had a bad time at the plate," Scioscia said.

The Angels' bullpen entered the series with the second-best ERA in the American League. However, it gave up seven runs on Tuesday, three on Wednesday and three on Thursday.

"[The bullpen] is always a concern," Scioscia said. "These guys are taking the ball, they're doing everything they can. We don't feel they're at risk, they're getting their time to recover, but we've had to use them a lot."

The Angels entered the series with a plus-48 run differential, best in MLB at the time. They're now seventh at plus-24.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Simmons showed off why he's one of MLB's elite defenders with a sterling play to turn two in the sixth, saving a run in the process.

With runners on the corners and one out, Simmons dove, fully extended, for a ball heading toward center field. He then promptly flipped the ball from his glove to second baseman Ian Kinsler. Kinsler then completed the inning-ending double play.

Video: BOS@LAA: Simmons starts sensational 6-4-3 double play

"I was honestly just trying to get one out, I was just trying to get it to Kinsler," Simmons said. "To be honest, in my eyes, Kinsler did all the work, because that was quick for a turn that wasn't perfect, so I've got to give credit to him."

SOUND SMART
Simmons is the first Angels shortstop to have three walks in a home game since Rick Burleson on Aug. 14, 1983, against the Mariners.

UP NEXT
The Angels play their first Interleague game of the season on Friday, when they host the Giants at 7:07 p.m. PT. It will mark the Giants' first trip to Anaheim since June 2012. Left-hander Andrew Heaney will make his second start of the season opposite right-hander Jeff Samardzija, who will be making his season debut for San Francisco. Heaney allowed four runs (three earned) over five innings in his last start against the Royals on April 13.

Avery Yang is a reporter for MLB.com.

Los Angeles Angels

Ohtani goes hitless, but blister is healing

Two-way phenom will DH Friday vs. Giants, throw bullpen over weekend
MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- Two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani returned to the Angels' lineup on Thursday night, but he couldn't help his club avoid a three-game sweep against the Red Sox, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in an 8-2 loss at Angel Stadium.

Batting sixth -- his highest spot in the Angels' batting order this season -- and serving as the designated hitter, Ohtani grounded out in his first at-bat against Boston left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez in the second inning. He then struck out swinging on changeups from Rodriguez in his next two at-bats in the fourth and sixth innings.

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ANAHEIM -- Two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani returned to the Angels' lineup on Thursday night, but he couldn't help his club avoid a three-game sweep against the Red Sox, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in an 8-2 loss at Angel Stadium.

Batting sixth -- his highest spot in the Angels' batting order this season -- and serving as the designated hitter, Ohtani grounded out in his first at-bat against Boston left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez in the second inning. He then struck out swinging on changeups from Rodriguez in his next two at-bats in the fourth and sixth innings.

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"Generally, I handle changeups pretty decently, but today, they threw a lot," Ohtani said through an interpreter. "It was kind of different from all the other pitchers that pitched against me. His changeup is a really good pitch. I just need to keep working on it."

Ohtani struck out swinging for the third time on a 98-mph fastball from reliever Joe Kelly in the ninth. It was his first career multi-strikeout game at the plate, and the first time he went hitless in eight starts at DH.

"[Andrelton] Simmons, the guy that was hitting in front of me, he got on every at-bat," Ohtani said. "I couldn't really extend the inning. I felt like maybe if I drew a walk, a base hit, maybe I could have started a big inning. I wasn't able to do that."

Video: BOS@LAA: Scioscia on Ohtani, loss to Red Sox

Ohtani, 23, departed his start against the Red Sox on Tuesday after two innings due to a blister on his right middle finger, but the ailment isn't expected to affect his hitting. He is batting .324 (11-for-34) with three home runs and 11 RBIs this season. Manager Mike Scioscia said Ohtani will be back in the lineup on Friday against right-hander Jeff Samardzija and the Giants.

"A lot of our guys had tough nights at the plate," Scioscia said. "Shohei, we've got a lot of confidence in where he is. It's one game that he didn't swing the bat to his capabilities, but we've got a lot of confidence in him. He'll be in there tomorrow again."

Ohtani said his blister is improving, and the Angels remain hopeful that he'll make his next scheduled start on the mound. If the Angels keep him on his once-a-week pitching schedule, Ohtani would start Tuesday in Houston. Ohtani played catch Thursday, and he will throw a bullpen session over the weekend to test the blister's progress.

"The blister is healing up pretty well right now," Ohtani said. "I'm planning on throwing my bullpen as scheduled, two days before my start. I'll try to take care of my blister."

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels, Shohei Ohtani

Andrelton Simmons started a double play with a slick dive and glove flip

Even in the current golden age of shortstops, Andrelton Simmons' defense has managed to stick out. He's taken home Gold Glove Awards in three of the last five seasons because he has a knack for consistently doing things in the field that no one else can.

The Red Sox were looking to add to their lead over the Angels in the sixth inning of Thursday night's game when Simmons once again put his glove on display to thwart their efforts. With two runs already across in the inning and runners on the corners with only one out, Red Sox second baseman Eduardo Nunez hit a hard grounder back up the middle.

Rather than allow Nunez's grounder to extend the inning and add to the lead, Simmons was there to put an end to it. In addition to showing off his range, he also delivered a perfect glove flip to Ian Kinsler to start an inning-ending double play.

Home-plate umpire Layne hit by foul ball, exits

MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- Home-plate umpire Jerry Layne left Thursday's Red Sox-Angels game with an injury after a Mike Trout foul ball hit his right elbow in the first inning.

Layne is day to day with bruising. X-rays were negative.

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ANAHEIM -- Home-plate umpire Jerry Layne left Thursday's Red Sox-Angels game with an injury after a Mike Trout foul ball hit his right elbow in the first inning.

Layne is day to day with bruising. X-rays were negative.

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"It was loud," Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez said. "I heard the sound, and I heard Jerry hurt, so it was bad."

Greg Gibson, who was originally umpiring first base, took over behind the plate, as the crew remained with just three umpires.

Avery Yang is a reporter for MLB.com.

Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels

Here's how Andrelton Simmons is raking

Known for defense, Angels shortstop off to strong start at plate
MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons has had one of his best career starts at the plate, but he's been outshined by Shohei Ohtani, the young phenom who is the first full-time two-way player since Babe Ruth, and two-time American League Most Valuable Player Award winner Mike Trout.

But Simmons doesn't mind. In fact, he seems to enjoy not being in the spotlight.

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ANAHEIM -- Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons has had one of his best career starts at the plate, but he's been outshined by Shohei Ohtani, the young phenom who is the first full-time two-way player since Babe Ruth, and two-time American League Most Valuable Player Award winner Mike Trout.

But Simmons doesn't mind. In fact, he seems to enjoy not being in the spotlight.

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"I'm OK with that, man," Simmons said. "I'm just trying to win baseball games. For me, we keep doing this the exact same way for the rest of the season, and we'll be good. Shohei absorbs all the attention, does great with it, deals with it great; Mike does what he does like every year."

Simmons is known for his defensive prowess, as he led the Majors in Defensive Runs Saved in 2013, '14 and '17. But he's also been hitting well through the first few weeks of the season. Simmons has a .306/.383/.389 slash line through 82 plate appearances, while his elite defense has continued.

Video: BOS@LAA: Valbuena, Simmons combine for a smooth DP

Simmons' plate discipline seems to be the key to his early success. Entering Thursday, he had swung at only 21 of the 129 out-of-strike-zone pitches he has faced -- a chase rate of 16.28 percent that would be his career best. His previous career-high chase rate was 25.27 percent in 2015.

Simmons also had a walk percentage of 7.7 percent entering Thursday, which would also be a career best.

"Being more disciplined, that's it really," Simmons said. "That's made a big, big difference. It's what I've built on the past couple years: just trying not to swing at stuff that's hard to hit. It's going to cost me a strikeout or two here and there, but I think I'd rather be doing that than swinging at everything that might be called."

Simmons' renewed mindset comes from observing his elite-hitting teammates over his career, namely Albert Pujols. Simmons said that he and Pujols have similar mechanical tendencies.

More experience for Simmons has meant seeing more pitches, understanding more hitting concepts and refining his discipline, something that hitters like Pujols have helped him cultivate. It's helped Simmons improve, as his on-base percentage has increased every season since 2014.

"You play with guys that are really good, you can't help but become a better hitter," Simmons said.

Video: OAK@LAA: Simmons knocks an RBI ground-rule double

Because Simmons isn't swinging at pitches out of the zone, he's received more hittable pitches. He has reached safely, or notched an RBI, against 11.9 percent of fastballs he has faced in the strike zone, the highest rate of his career by more than two percent.

Last season, Simmons slashed .278/.331/.421, the best line of his career, and improved his Wins Above Replacement to 7.1 from 4.2 in 2016. Entering Thursday, he had a 1.0 WAR this year, which was on pace to set a career high.

"He's following up [last year] with a good start this year," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's comfortable in the batter's box, and he's gotten some big hits for us this year."

Worth noting
Kole Calhoun has struggled recently, as he is mired in a 1-for-20 slump, with seven strikeouts and zero walks. He was out of the lineup against the Red Sox on Thursday, but he entered as a pinch-hitter in the seventh and went 0-for-2 with a strikeout.

"He's not as comfortable in the box right now as he was in the beginning of the season," Scioscia said.

Calhoun is batting .200/.221/.267 with one homer and nine RBIs.

Avery Yang is a reporter for MLB.com.

Los Angeles Angels, Andrelton Simmons

Thursday's top prospect performers

Brewers duo impresses on both sides of the ball
MLB.com

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Thursday.

The Brewers' top two prospects showed a bit of why they are so highly-touted on Thursday night.

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Thursday.

The Brewers' top two prospects showed a bit of why they are so highly-touted on Thursday night.

Milwaukee's No. 1 prospect Keston Hiura (No. 56 overall) hit his first homer of the season in a 2-for-5 showing with Class A Advanced Carolina while Corbin Burnes (Brewers' No. 2, No. 69 overall) spun a scoreless start and picked up the win for Triple-A Colorado Springs.

Hiura, who hit .371 in 42 games after he was picked in the first round a season ago, got off to a slow start this season, but he appears to be finding his rhythm. The 21-year-old has hits in four of his past five games, raising his average from .143 to .220 over that timeframe.

Hiura's first homer of 2018

Burnes was impressive from start to finish as he struck out the side in the first inning, setting the tone for things to come. The right-hander notched at least one strikeout in five of his first six innings, ultimately finishing with nine.

Burnes faced one batter in the seventh, got a flyout, then was lifted after yielding three hits over 6 1/3 innings.

Burnes rings up ninth strikeout

Other top prospect performances from Thursday's action:

• No. 3 overall prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Blue Jays' No. 1) is hitting .362/.411/.596 after going 2-for-4 with Double-A New Hampshire. Guerrero has hits in 10 of 12 games this season and has notched multiple hits in five of his past six games. While Guerrero was contributing on the offensive end, Jordan Romano (No. 27) kept Binghamton in check with seven innings of one-run ball.

• No. 23 overall prospect Austin Hays (Orioles' No. 1) was responsible for half of Double-A Bowie's offense in a 6-1 win over Richmond. Hays finished just 1-for-4, but he drove in three runs via a sacrifice fly in the first and a two-run homer in the ninth. Cedric Mullins (Orioles' No. 7) collected a season-high three hits, going 3-for-5, and Keegan Akin (Orioles' No. 9) picked up his first win of the year as he struck out seven over six innings of one-run ball.

Hays goes the other way

• No. 38 overall prospect Jack Flaherty (Cardinals' No. 2) spun the first complete game of his career (seven innings) and moved to 3-0 as he led Triple-A Memphis to a win over Omaha in Game 1 of a doubleheader. The 22-year-old right hander gave up two runs (one earned) on two hits and struck out six while throwing 67 of his 95 pitches for strikes.

Flaherty finishes complete game

• No. 97 overall prospect Austin Riley (Braves' No. 8) is swinging a scorching-hot bat for Double-A Mississippi. The 21-year-old, who went 3-for-3, is hitting .408 after his fourth straight multi-hit effort. Over those four games, Riley is 10-for-15 with six extra-base hits and five RBIs.

• No. 99 overall prospect Blake Rutherford (White Sox No. 7) continued his hot start and extended his hitting streak to six games, going 4-for-5 with Class A Advanced Winston-Salem. Rutherford, who is batting .404 through 11 games, also set a career high with four RBIs. Micker Adolfo (No. 10) also contributed to the win, hitting his third homer of the year.

Rutherford's two-run single

Athletics No. 8 prospect Sean Murphy pushed his average to .409 with his fourth consecutive multi-hit performance for Double-A Midland. Murphy, who hit just .209 in 53 games with Midland last season, went 4-for-5 and is off to a particularly fast start at the plate. The 23-year-old has hits in nine of the 11 games he's played in and has also racked up nine RBIs.

Murphy knocks out four hits

• Braves No. 10 prospect Joey Wentz was once again dominant for Class A Advanced Florida. Wentz retired the first five batters he faced on his way toward hurling five scoreless innings. The 20-year-old hasn't given up a run in either of his past two starts (10 innings) and has allowed just one run all season. Wentz struck out six, including the final two batters he faced, and has now fanned 15 in 14 innings.

Cubs No. 3 prospect Oscar De La Cruz bounced back from a couple rough starts to spin a gem for Double-A Tennessee. The right-hander gave up 11 earned runs over six innings in his first two starts, but he showed no signs of struggle against Montgomery. De La Cruz dominated through six scoreless frames, surrendering just one hit and striking out six.

De La Cruz fans six

• Pirates prospects Calvin Mitchell (No. 16) and Travis MacGregor (No. 25) led Class A West Virginia to a 3-0 win over Asheville. Mitchell, who finished 2-for-4, provided all the offense with a three-run homer in the third while MacGregor did his part by pitching six scoreless innings. MacGregor, who struck out six and yielded three hits, has given up just one earned run over three starts this season.

Red Sox No. 11 prospect Josh Ockimey picked the perfect time -- waiting until the bases were loaded -- to hit his first homer of the season. The 22-year-old went 3-for-4 for Double-A Portland and put the game out of reach with a grand slam in the seventh.

Royals No. 25 prospect Chase Vallot snapped an 0-for-17 skid with a first-inning grand slam for Class A Advanced Wilmington. Vallot picked up a fifth RBI via a bases-loaded walk in the fourth, but is still having a tough time at the plate as he finished 1-for-5.

Angels No. 29 prospect Joe Gatto gave up five runs in three innings in his last start with Class A Advanced Inland Empire, but he bounced back in a big way against Lancaster. The 22-year-old right-hander fired 53 of his 79 pitches for strikes as he struck out nine and yielded three hits over six scoreless frames. Gatto struck out the side in the first and notched at least one strikeout in five of his six innings.

William Boor is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.

AL West: Checking in on the new guys

MLB.com

The American League West has several new high-profile faces this season, with a mix of established stars and young phenoms highlighting the crop of newcomers to the division.

Here's a look at how the most prominent new guys are settling in with their clubs so far.

The American League West has several new high-profile faces this season, with a mix of established stars and young phenoms highlighting the crop of newcomers to the division.

Here's a look at how the most prominent new guys are settling in with their clubs so far.

Video: OAK@SEA: Piscotty swats a solo homer to right field

A's
Who's the new guy? Outfielder Stephen Piscotty

How's it going so far? Piscotty couldn't find his way over the Mendoza Line during his first 10 games with the A's, so he was subsequently demoted in the lineup. But he hasn't stopped hitting since, batting nearly .500 in the past week after making a slight adjustment to loosen his grip on the bat, and he's gradually looking more comfortable on defense in his new digs, too.

What's on deck? Piscotty is looking like the hitter Oakland was expecting to get when it traded for him in the offseason, which bodes well for a deep lineup that's capable of doing damage top to bottom.

Number to know: 8. Number of times Piscotty has reached base safely in eight consecutive games.

Video: BOS@LAA: Ohtani strikes out Martinez in the 1st

Angels
Who's the new guy? Right-handed pitcher/Designated hitter Shohei Ohtani

How's it going so far? Ohtani, the Angels' prized offseason acquisition, enjoyed a historic start to his career in the Majors, going 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA and 18 strikeouts over 13 innings in his first two starts on the mound while batting .367 with three home runs and 11 RBIs over 30 at-bats as the designated hitter. But the 23-year-old two-way phenom proved human in his third pitching appearance on Tuesday, when he allowed three runs over two innings to the Red Sox before exiting with a blister on his right hand.

What's on deck? The blister isn't expected to affect Ohtani's availability as a hitter, so he will likely return to the lineup by Thursday at the earliest and log a few starts at DH before transitioning back into pitching mode. The Halos are hopeful that Ohtani will be able to make his next start on the mound, which would be next Tuesday in Houston if he's kept on his current once-a-week pitching schedule.

Number to know: Ohtani became the first player with two wins and three home runs in his team's first 10 games of a season since Jim Shaw for the 1919 Washington Senators.

Video: HOU@SEA: Cole allows five hits, no earned runs

Astros
Who's the new guy: Right-handed pitcher Gerrit Cole

How's it going so far? Cole is off to a tremendous start with his new team, going 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in his first three starts. In that span, he's struck out an AL-best 36 hitters in 21 innings and is using his curveball more often and his fastball less.

What's on deck? Cole is still getting his feet wet in the AL and will have to make adjustments as he faces lineups multiples times. He's faced the Rangers twice and Padres once so far (prior to Wednesday's start at Seattle).

Number to know: Cole's 36 strikeouts through his first three games with the Astros are a club record.

Video: OAK@SEA: Gordon slides to snag Olson's liner in CF

Mariners
Who's the new guy? Outfielder Dee Gordon

How's it going so far? Gordon has gotten off to a fast start with his new club, batting .302 with seven stolen bases over his first 15 games at the top of the Mariners' lineup while also making a smooth transition to center field.

What's on deck? Gordon, who won a Gold Glove Award at second base with the Marlins in 2015, will have to continue to learn and adjust to all the nuances of playing in the outfield, though his elite speed has helped him take well to the new position thus far.

Number to know: Gordon's average sprint speed of 29.7 feet per second was the fourth-fastest mark in the Majors in 2017. On Tuesday against the Astros, Gordon logged sprint speeds of 30.4 feet per second and 30.2 feet per second on a pair of groundouts -- both above Statcast™'s benchmark for elite speed of 30 feet per second.

Video: TEX@TB: Kiner-Falefa collects four hits vs. the Rays

Rangers
Who's the new guy? Infielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa

How's it going so far? Kiner-Falefa was called up to the Majors for the first time on April 10 to be the Rangers' backup utility infielder when second baseman Rougned Odor went on the disabled list. Kiner-Falefa then became the starting second baseman when Elvis Andrus got hurt and Jurickson Profar shifted to shortstop. Then Profar went into concussion protocol during Monday's game and Kiner-Falefa made his first start at shortstop on Tuesday, getting four hits in a 7-2 victory over the Rays. Texas has been juggling its lineup almost daily because of the injuries, and Kiner-Falefa so far has handled everything thrown at him.

What's on deck? Kiner-Falefa will continue to play shortstop until Profar is ready to return, then he'll switch back to second base. Odor is due back in another two weeks or so, but Andrus is down for six to eight weeks with a fractured bone in his right elbow. Kiner-Falefa is going to be in the big leagues for awhile if he continues to play well and show he is not fazed by the environment.

Number to know: Kiner-Falefa is just the fourth Rangers player to have a four-hit game within the first seven games of his career.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Texas Rangers, Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Angels, Houston Astros, Gerrit Cole, Dee Gordon, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Shohei Ohtani, Stephen Piscotty

Halos still optimistic Ohtani will make next start

Two-way phenom dealing with blister, could DH on Thursday
MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- One day after Shohei Ohtani exited his start against the Red Sox with a blister on his right hand, the Angels remained optimistic that the 23-year-old two-way phenom will be able to make his next start on the mound.

"We'll evaluate it," manager Mike Scioscia said Wednesday. "He's not very concerned about it. Our medical staff is going to pay a lot of attention to it, to make sure that he's able to throw his bullpen and see where he comes out of things. We'll just take this one step at a time. We won't have to make a decision for a while."

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ANAHEIM -- One day after Shohei Ohtani exited his start against the Red Sox with a blister on his right hand, the Angels remained optimistic that the 23-year-old two-way phenom will be able to make his next start on the mound.

"We'll evaluate it," manager Mike Scioscia said Wednesday. "He's not very concerned about it. Our medical staff is going to pay a lot of attention to it, to make sure that he's able to throw his bullpen and see where he comes out of things. We'll just take this one step at a time. We won't have to make a decision for a while."

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The Angels' preference early this season has been to have Ohtani pitch on six days' rest, meaning his next scheduled outing would likely be Tuesday in Houston. Ohtani normally throws a light bullpen session four days before his starts and a more intense one two days later, so he could have a chance to assess the blister's progress Friday, if he remains on his usual pitching routine.

Video: BOS@LAA: Ohtani exits after two innings with blister

Ohtani didn't pitch for nearly two months because of a blister issue in Japan in 2016, but he doesn't feel this one is as severe. He added that he's been able to pitch through other blisters without having to miss a turn in the rotation.

"Usually, in Japan, I pitched without it fully healing, without skipping days or anything," Ohtani said Tuesday through an interpreter. "I think it will be something similar this time."

The blister, which is located on the inside edge of Ohtani's right middle finger, affected his ability to command his pitches against the Red Sox and especially defanged his splitter, which had been a key pitch for him in his first two brilliant outings. Scioscia said that he doesn't believe Ohtani's high splitter usage led to the development of the blister, however.

"He used his split a lot in his first two outings and had no issue with it," Scioscia said. "It's just something that came up last night. He'll be able to throw all his pitches."

The blister isn't expected to affect Ohtani's hitting. Scioscia said Ohtani would be available to serve as the designated hitter on Thursday, but he wouldn't commit to having him in the lineup against Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez. So far this season, the left-handed hitting Ohtani has started only once at DH against a lefty.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels, Shohei Ohtani

Skaggs shaky as Angels blanked by Red Sox

MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- This early-season clash between the Angels and the Red Sox had been billed as a marquee showdown between two of the American League's hottest teams, but it's been a one-sided affair thus far.

For the second consecutive night, the Angels struggled to neutralize the Red Sox's mighty offense, as left-hander Tyler Skaggs was rocked for six runs over 4 1/3 innings in a 9-0 loss on Wednesday night at Angel Stadium.

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ANAHEIM -- This early-season clash between the Angels and the Red Sox had been billed as a marquee showdown between two of the American League's hottest teams, but it's been a one-sided affair thus far.

For the second consecutive night, the Angels struggled to neutralize the Red Sox's mighty offense, as left-hander Tyler Skaggs was rocked for six runs over 4 1/3 innings in a 9-0 loss on Wednesday night at Angel Stadium.

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Rafael Devers' first career grand slam capped a five-run third inning for the Red Sox (15-2), who saddled the Angels (13-5) with their first series loss of the season by taking the first two games of this matchup.

Meanwhile, the Angels' bats mustered only six hits against right-hander Rick Porcello, who tossed six scoreless innings to improve to 4-0 in four starts this season. While the Angels entered Wednesday leading the Majors in several offensive categories, including runs, hits, home runs and batting average, they've been outscored, 19-1, by the Red Sox in this series.

"Those guys, if you're missing spots, they're going to swing the bats," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We can, too, but we haven't really pressured those guys the way we need to on the offensive side."

Video: BOS@LAA: Scioscia on Skaggs, loss to Sox

Skaggs allowed eight hits while walking one and striking out four in the 98-pitch effort. He needed 27 pitches to get through the first inning, yielding a double to Hanley Ramirez and an RBI single to Mitch Moreland that gave the Red Sox an early lead.

Skaggs faced more adversity in the third. After Mookie Betts led off with a single, Ramirez bounced a grounder to new third baseman Zack Cozart, who threw to second to try to get the lead runner. But the speedy Betts beat out Cozart's high throw to Ian Kinsler, allowing Ramirez to reach on a fielder's choice. J.D. Martinez then singled to load the bases with no outs, setting up Moreland's second RBI single of the night.

"I thought if I throw it right, I have him, and then we definitely turn the double play with Hanley," Cozart said of his throwing decision. "If it was a good throw, in my opinion, he's out."

Added Scioscia: "He had the play at second. The throw was just a little high. Coz has one of the most accurate throwing arms around, and he's going to make that play a lot of times. Any time you get that forceout, you take it. We trust his judgement, we trust his arm, the throw was just a little high."

Skaggs struck out Eduardo Nunez for the first out of the third, but he then hung a curveball to Devers, who lined it off the right-field wall, over the new home-run boundary, for a grand slam that made it 6-0.

Video: BOS@LAA: Devers cranks a grand slam to right field

"It wasn't the greatest pitch," Skaggs said. "But at the same time, I thought I threw some good pitches tonight. They're just seeing it well. It is what it is. It doesn't matter who's on the mound, they're seeing it. Back to the drawing board."

The Angels' bullpen, which pitched seven innings in Tuesday's 10-1 loss after Shohei Ohtani exited after two frames with a blister, endured another long night after Skaggs was removed with one out in the fifth. Blake Wood allowed a solo homer to Martinez in the seventh, and Keynan Middleton gave up a two-run shot to Moreland in the ninth.

Albert Pujols singled in the first for his 2,990th career hit.

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Missed opportunities: After the Red Sox took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, the Angels used singles from Kinsler, Mike Trout and Pujols to load the bases with one out against Porcello in the bottom half of the inning. But the Angels couldn't capitalize on the early opportunity, as Porcello struck out Kole Calhoun and Cozart to end the threat. The Angels went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left eight runners on base in their second shutout loss of the season.

"I think the last couple games, we hit some balls hard, but you're going to run into some waves like this, where it just doesn't seem like you're putting things together," Scioscia said. "But we're a much better offensive team than any time in the last number of years, so we've got a lot of confidence that we're going to keep swinging the bats well."

Video: BOS@LAA: Porcello K's Cozart, strands based loaded

UP NEXT
Angels right-hander Nick Tropeano (1-0, 0.00 ERA) will start opposite Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (1-0, 3.72) in Thursday's series finale at 7:07 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium. Tropeano struck out six over 6 2/3 scoreless innings against the Royals last Thursday in his return from Tommy John surgery. Tropeano is slated to make his first start at Angel Stadium since July 18, 2016.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels, Tyler Skaggs

Shoemaker feeling 'really good,' eager to throw

Angels right-hander currently on DL with right forearm strain
MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- Angels right-hander Matt Shoemaker, who made one start before going on the disabled list April 3, has been making progress on the right forearm strain that has kept him sidelined.

"The last four, five days it's just very noticeably gotten better," Shoemaker said before Tuesday's opener against the Red Sox at Angel Stadium. "The nerve irritation, the scar-tissue stuff affecting the nerve, whatever I was feeling, that's finally calming down, and I'm starting to feel really good."

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ANAHEIM -- Angels right-hander Matt Shoemaker, who made one start before going on the disabled list April 3, has been making progress on the right forearm strain that has kept him sidelined.

"The last four, five days it's just very noticeably gotten better," Shoemaker said before Tuesday's opener against the Red Sox at Angel Stadium. "The nerve irritation, the scar-tissue stuff affecting the nerve, whatever I was feeling, that's finally calming down, and I'm starting to feel really good."

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Shoemaker said he is eager to begin a throwing program, but he still has not been cleared to do so. There remains no timetable for his return, according to manager Mike Scioscia.

Shoemaker, 31, missed more than half of the 2017 season after undergoing surgery to release the compressed radial nerve in his right forearm. He has said that his current injury feels similar to the one that he sustained last year.

Shoemaker was expected to be a regular member of the Angels' projected six-man rotation this season, but he has not pitched since his season debut on March 31, when he allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings in a win over the A's.

Shoemaker's injury, coupled with the loss of JC Ramirez to season-ending Tommy John surgery, forced the Angels to use nine starters through their first 15 games of the season.

The Angels are currently carrying five starters on their 25-man roster -- Garrett Richards, Tyler Skaggs, Shohei Ohtani, Nick Tropeano and Andrew Heaney -- though they are expecting to shift to a six-man rotation within the next week. They will need another starter by Sunday, at the latest, with Jaime Barria and Parker Bridwell the most likely candidates to take the role.

Worth noting
• Ramirez, who was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow last week, was scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery Tuesday. The procedure was expected to be performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

• Right-hander Griffin Canning, a second-round Draft pick out of UCLA in 2017, has been promoted to Double-A Mobile after logging 8 2/3 scoreless innings over his first two starts with Class A Advanced Inland Empire this season. Canning, 21, is the Angels' No. 8 prospect, per MLB Pipeline.

Avery Yang is a reporter for MLB.com.

Los Angeles Angels, Matt Shoemaker

As Ohtani exits early, Angels routed by Sox

MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- Shohei Ohtani vs. David Price was supposed to be an early marquee pitching matchup, one that could involve each going about seven innings -- like Price did in his first two starts and like Ohtani did on April 8, when he flirted with a perfect game.

Instead, both pitchers combined for just seven innings, as Ohtani left early with a blister and the Red Sox powered their way to a 10-1 win on Tuesday at Angel Stadium. Price threw 78 pitches over five innings, while Ohtani exited after the second.

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ANAHEIM -- Shohei Ohtani vs. David Price was supposed to be an early marquee pitching matchup, one that could involve each going about seven innings -- like Price did in his first two starts and like Ohtani did on April 8, when he flirted with a perfect game.

Instead, both pitchers combined for just seven innings, as Ohtani left early with a blister and the Red Sox powered their way to a 10-1 win on Tuesday at Angel Stadium. Price threw 78 pitches over five innings, while Ohtani exited after the second.

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The blister, which developed after Ohtani's previous start on April 8, appeared to hamper his ability to locate his offspeed pitches, allowing a dangerous Red Sox offense to pounce on his fastball. The two-way phenom gave up three runs on four hits and two walks in his first career loss.

"[The blister] definitely affected his command," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

Video: BOS@LAA: Ohtani, Scioscia discuss blister, early exit

The American League East-leading Red Sox are one of the first major tests of the season for the Angels. The two teams entered Tuesday leading MLB in several major offensive categories. Boston continued to rake, notching 15 hits, including six homers. Meanwhile, Los Angeles had just four hits, all singles.

"I knew [the Red Sox] were a really good team on a hot streak," Ohtani said through an interpreter. "I watched videos the last two days, and I saw why they were playing so well. And actually pitching against them, I felt why they had such a good record. It's something I need to get better at for next time, and keep on trying to learn more and get better."

Video: BOS@LAA: Ohtani strikes out Martinez in the 1st

Boston notched all three of its runs against Ohtani off the righty's four-seam fastball, which they jumped on when his splitter -- by far his best secondary pitch -- proved negligible. Ohtani threw 13 splitters, with only two yielding strikes -- both foul balls.

"My splitter, I didn't have good command of that, I threw it in the dirt a lot," Ohtani said. "My fastball, I didn't have a good feel on my fingertips, off the seams."

The Angels' bullpen faltered, too. Entering Tuesday with the second lowest ERA in the AL, their relievers gave up seven runs, including five homers.

Video: BOS@LAA: Pujols grounds an RBI single to left

The Angels' lone run came on an Albert Pujols RBI single, the 2,989th hit of his career. Pujols was ejected at the end of the fifth for arguing a called third strike. It was his ninth career ejection, and his fourth with the Angels.

Price threw five innings of one-run ball, allowing just three hits and striking out six. The Boston bullpen combined for four innings of scoreless relief.

SOUND SMART
This was the Angels' first Tuesday sellout since April 1, 2014 -- the second game of the regular season that year -- with a crowd of 43,567. It was also the second largest attendance since Angel Stadium was renovated in 1998.

Ohtani tied Tim Fortugno for the franchise record for most strikeouts through an Angels pitcher's first three career games with 19.

UP NEXT
Left-hander Tyler Skaggs (2-0, 1.69 ERA) will make his fourth start of the season Wednesday, as the Angels continue their three-game series against the Red Sox at 7:07 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium. Skaggs tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings in his lone previous start against the Red Sox on July 31, 2016. Right-hander Rick Porcello (3-0, 1.83) will take the mound for Boston.

Avery Yang is a reporter for MLB.com.

Los Angeles Angels, Shohei Ohtani, Albert Pujols

Tuesday's top prospect performers

MLB.com

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Tuesday.

With top pitching prospect Triston McKenzie sidelined to begin the season, Shane Bieber and Sam Hentges are taking center stage in the Cleveland Indians' farm system. They combined to throw 13 scoreless innings with 16 strikeouts, as each hurler recorded his second win in three starts at his respective level.

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Tuesday.

With top pitching prospect Triston McKenzie sidelined to begin the season, Shane Bieber and Sam Hentges are taking center stage in the Cleveland Indians' farm system. They combined to throw 13 scoreless innings with 16 strikeouts, as each hurler recorded his second win in three starts at his respective level.

Bieber, Cleveland's No. 8 prospect, fired seven scoreless frames, allowing four hits and striking out six to lead Double-A Akron past Altoona, 2-0. The 22-year-old right-hander extended his season-opening scoreless-innings streak to 20 with the performance, during which he's allowed just 10 hits and zero walks while striking out 23 batters.

That Bieber, the Indians' fourth-round pick in the 2016 Draft, is yet to issue a walk should not be surprising -- he issued just 12 free passes (two intentional) in 173 1/3 innings last season to lead all Minor League hurlers both in walk rate (1.5 percent) and walks-per-nine innings (0.5 BB/9).

Hentges (No. 17) also dazzled in his start for Class A Advanced Lynchburg, posting six blank frames to help the Hillcats defeat Frederick, 4-1. The 21-year-old lefty scattered six hits and one walk with 10 strikeouts in arguably his best outing since returning from Tommy John surgery last June. He's quickly emerged as Lynchburg's ace in McKenzie's absence, posting a 0.56 ERA with 19 strikeouts and three walks in 16 innings (three starts) to begin the season.

The rest of the best performances from top prospects Tuesday

• It took him 10 games, but No. 2 overall prospect Ronald Acuna (Braves' No. 1) is finally on the board with his first home run. The 20-year-old phenom connected on a two-run shot to left field in the fifth inning, before finishing 2-for-4 with two runs and a walk in Triple-A Gwinnett's win over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The RBIs also were firsts for Acuna, who's hitting .175 overall with two extra-base hits after his second multi-hit game.

Acuna's first 2018 homer

No. 13 overall prospect Bo Bichette (Blue Jays' No. 2) extended his hitting streak to nine games with an RBI single in Double-A New Hampshire's loss to Binghamton. Bichette also scored and run and stole his fourth base. The 20-year-old shortstop is hitting .341 through 10 games and ranks among the top three in the Eastern League in both runs scored (10) and hits (15).

No. 14 overall prospect Brendan Rodgers (Rockies' No. 1) broke out of a 1-for-26 slump by going 3-for-4 in Double-A Hartford's loss to Portland in game one of a doubleheader. One of the 21-year-old shortstop's hits was a double, and he also plated a run in the three-hit performance, his second this season.

No. 29 overall prospect Juan Soto (Nationals' No. 2) collected a pair of hits in both ends of Class A Hagerstown's doubleheader to improve his season slash line to a robust .415/.537/.902. The 19-year-old outfielder went 2-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI in the opener and then reached base four times in the nightcap in a 2-for-2, two-walk performance. Altogether, Soto has produced 10 extra-base hits and 20 RBIs in 12 games, with nearly twice as many walks (13) as strikeouts (seven).

No. 60 overall prospect Jesus Luzardo (A's No. 2) furthered his reputation as one of baseball's top left-handed pitching prospects by spinning five no-hit frames with nine strikeouts for Class A Advanced Stockton. He allowed just two hitters to reach base -- one via a walk and the other on his own error -- and threw 50 of his 76 pitches for strikes. The 20-year-old southpaw has been dominant to begin the season, posting a 1.23 ERA with 25 strikeouts and .120 opponents' average over 14 2/3 innings (three starts) in the hitter-friendly California League.

No. 81 overall prospect Nick Gordon (Twins' No. 4) has at least one hit and one RBI in three straight games after connecting on his first home run, a solo shot, in Double-A Chattanooga's win over Jacksonville. The 22-year-old middle infielder is off to a strong start in 2018, hitting .350/.381/.550 through 10 games in his second tour of the Southern League.

Angels No. 10 prospect Michael Hermosillo set a career high with six RBIs behind a trio of run-producing extra-base hits in Triple-A Salt Lake's rout of Sacramento. The 23-year-old outfielder accrued his RBIs in the first six innings, too, as he plated two runs with a triple in the second inning, connected on a three-run homer in the fourth and then added a solo shot two frames later to finish 3-for-5. Hermosillo also scored two runs and recorded an outfield assist in center field.

Hermosillo's second homer

Blue Jays' No. 9 prospect T.J. Zeuch tossed six scoreless innings en route to his second win in three starts for Class A Advanced Dunedin. He scattered five hits with two walks and eight strikeouts while generating an additional seven outs on the ground. The 6-foot-7 right-hander has completed at least six innings in each of his three starts for Dunedin, posting a 2.89 ERA with a 0.96 WHIP and 17 strikeouts in 18 2/3 frames overall.

Brewers No. 5 prospect Luis Ortiz set a career high with 10 strikeouts for Double-A Biloxi after entering the game as a reliever in the fourth inning. The 22-year-old righty would work the remaining 6 1/3 frames, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits and three walks as the Shuckers fell 4-3 to Mobile in 10 innings. At the plate for Biloxi, Corey Ray (No. 7) stayed hot with his fourth straight multi-hit performance as he finished 2-for-5 with two steals. He's hit a double in four straight games and has an extra-base hit in nine of his past 10 contests.

Dodgers No. 16 prospect Caleb Ferguson took a no-decision for Double-A Tulsa despite posting five scoreless frames of two-hit ball. He tallied nine strikeouts against just one walk while throwing 53 of his 73 pitches for strikes. The 21-year-old righty sports a 0.87 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings through three starts for the Drillers.

Ferguson fans nine

Giants No. 8 prospect Shaun Anderson led the way with six scoreless innings as Double-A Richmond blanked Bowie, 1-0. Facing three batters over the minimum in the outing, Anderson, whom San Francisco acquired from Boston at last year's Trade Deadline, yielded four hits and one walk while pairing four strikeouts with nine ground-ball outs. He threw 86 pitches, 52 for strikes.

Orioles No. 17 prospect Zac Lowther allowed three hits over five innings in his second straight scoreless start for Class A Delmarva. He struck out seven and did not issue a walk, throwing 58 of his 84 pitches for strikes in the outing. The 21-year-old lefty has been dominant early in his first full season, posting a 0.36 WHIP with 20 strikeouts across 11 scoreless frames (both wins).

Reds No. 5 prospect Tony Santillan has gone 16 innings without allowing an earned run as he pitched Class A Advanced Daytona past Tampa, 8-2. The 21-year-old righty gave up three hits in six innings, struck out five and hit a batter. He's limited opposing hitters to a .145 average across his first three starts, posting 18 strikeouts against four walks in 16 innings.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.