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Astros tab Lance McCullers for Game 3, Charlie Morton for Game 4

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The Astros have the rest of their rotation set through the first four games of the World Series. Right-hander Lance McCullers will take on Yu Darvish in Game 3 when the series moves to Houston and fellow righty Charlie Morton will kick off Game 4. The Dodgers have yet to officially confirm their rotation beyond Game 3, though Alex Wood is presumably in line for Saturday’s gig.

McCullers, 23, has made just one start so far this postseason. He looked solid on the mound, holding the Yankees to just one run in six innings during Game 4 of the ALCS, but was done in by a shaky performance from the bullpen that allowed New York to take a 6-4 lead for the win. In relief, however, McCullers has been even better. He dismantled any chance the Yankees had of reclaiming the pennant in Game 7, firing 24 straight curveballs en route to a four-inning save.

Morton, 33, was in the driver’s seat for the Astros’ last must-win playoff game. He staved off a Game 7 loss in the ALCS with five innings of two-hit, five-strikeout ball, combining with McCullers for a three-hit shutout to eliminate the Yankees. He boasts a sterling postseason record at home, with just two runs allowed in 9 1/3 innings, but hasn’t been so hot on the road. He was shelled in Game 3 of the ALCS, scattering seven runs on six hits and two walks before he was forced off the mound in the fourth inning. Thankfully for the Astros, that will likely be Morton’s last appearance outside of Minute Maid Park this fall.

Should the rotation extend past four games, as the Astros hope it will, they’ll send Dallas Keuchel, Justin Verlander and McCullers out for Games 5 through 7. Right now, though, they just have to split the series on the road. Verlander will be on the hill tonight against Dodgers’ lefty Rich Hill at 8:00 PM ET.

Shohei Ohtani no longer facing Masahiro Tanaka on Sunday at Yankee Stadium

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Shohei Ohtani has essentially become the Angels’ designated Sunday starting pitcher, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia announced Thursday morning that the 23-year-old two-way Japanese star will be skipped in the rotation this weekend at Yankee Stadium for “workload management” purposes.

Ohtani is fine to continue hitting, so there’s no sense of any physical ailment.

This decision will rob us — and the Japanese media — of a showdown between Ohtani and countrymate Masahiro Tanaka. And for that we are rather devastated, but you can understand the Angels’ concerns about overuse.

Ohtani has registered a 3.35 ERA, 1.066 WHIP, and 52/14 K/BB ratio through his first 40 1/3 innings (seven starts) as a major league pitcher and he’s slashing .308/.364/.582 with six home runs and 19 RBI in 26 games as a part-time DH.