LA Angels News

Shohei Ohtani looks like the pitcher the Angels had hoped for.

By David Rice
OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 01: Shohei Ohtani
OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 01: Shohei Ohtani /
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Shohei Ohtani made his much anticipated debut on the mound Sunday against the Oakland A’s.  After struggling early giving up three runs in the first 2 innings, Ohtani settled down and pitched six strong innings.

Shohei Ohtani reached 100 miles per hour mark at least 10 times during the game.  His only trouble came in the second inning when he gave up three consecutive hits including a three-run home run to third baseman Matt Chapman. After that Ohtani retired 14 of the next 15 batters.

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Overall Ohtani’s numbers were pretty impressive as he pitched six innings and only gave up three hits and three earned runs with one walk and six strikeouts. Now for all those naysayers about Ohtani (I’m included to a point), Shohei said SHUSH!!! .  I myself was not ready to give up on him, but I thought a little time in the minors might help him with his adjustment to American baseball.

The only thing I caution fans and media alike is that you don’t flip-flop if he has a bad outing next time out or in the future as it will happen as it is the nature of baseball. But for now at least Shohei Ohtani was as good as advertised.  If he can be consistent with his velocity and locating his pitches the way he did Sunday he will be a very good MLB pitcher.

What impressed me the most in watching Ohtani pitch was the poise he showed on the mound.  Even in the second inning when started to struggle he seemed to be more pissed off than rattled after allowing Matt Chapman’s three-run homer.  I watched as Ohtani came right back and quickly retire the next two batters to end the inning.

This was something Ohtani did not seem to be able to do this Spring: Limit the Damage.  With the score being only 3-2 the Angels were eventually able to touch Oakland pitching for two runs in the top of the fifth to take the lead back. Meanwhile Ohtani kept throwing up zeroes.

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Ohtani only allowed one base runner after the second inning, a one-out walk in the bottom of th fourth to Matt Joyce.  After Joyce, Ohtani got Stephen Piscotty to fly out to left and Matt Chapman to strike out.  These were the same three guys who got hits off of Ohtani in their previous at-bats including Chapman who hit the home run.

After that Ohtani seemed to get even stronger mowing through the A’s in the fifth and sixth innings to hold the Angels slim one-run lead they got courtesy of a Mike Trout RBI-Double and a Justin Upton sacrifice fly in the top of the fifth.

In the 7th inning the Angels added three more runs on a Kole Calhoun RBI-single and a two-run single by Andrelton Simmons to stretch the lead to 7-3.  Cam Bedrosian and Blake Wood pitched solid innings of relief and despite some struggles by Blake Parker in the ninth, Keynan Middleton was able to work out of a bases-loaded jam and the Angels clinched a series victory with a 7-4 victory.

Next: Shohei Ohtani earns his wings, but bullpen needs some work.

More importantly Shohei Ohtani had past his first test on the mound with flying colors and picked up his first major league victory in the process.  Now it’s time to go home.

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