Home News Shohei Ohtani starts as pitcher, finishes a triple shy at plate

Shohei Ohtani starts as pitcher, finishes a triple shy at plate

by admin

ANAHEIM — There are many things that separate Shohei Ohtani from his peers, but most prominently, he’s the only pitcher in baseball who can help his own cause at the plate.

MLB’s only two-way player helped himself again vs. the Mariners on Friday night. He didn’t have his best stuff on the mound, allowing three runs over five innings in a no-decision, but his elite hitting skills were on display as he went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer and a double in a 5-4 win at Angel Stadium.

It marked the fourth time this season that Ohtani has had at least three hits in a game he’s started on the mound, which is the most by a player since Hall of Famer Warren Spahn did it five times with the 1958 Milwaukee Braves.

“I thought he was great,” Angels manager Phil Nevin. “His two-run home run put us right back in the game. So a really impressive night. I know his pitch count got up there and that’s why he only got through five, but he gave us a chance to win and that’s all you can ask for.”

It was also the third time this season that Ohtani finished one hit shy of hitting for the cycle while serving as starting pitcher. No player in NL or AL history has ever started a game on the mound and hit for the cycle.

Ohtani, pitching with an extra day of rest for the first time this season, struggled with his command early, walking the leadoff hitter on five pitches before giving up a two-run homer to Jarred Kelenic on an 0-1 sweeper over the middle of the plate. He walked three batters and threw 31 pitches through a laborious opening frame.

“I’m sure he’d say he’d want the pitch to Kelenic back,” Nevin said. “He just doubled up in the same spot. He was trying to backdoor him, but it just ended up in the middle. I know people talk about the sweeper, but how many more did he throw tonight that weren’t even touched? He just happened to throw one over the middle.”

Ohtani settled down after that and atoned for giving up the early homer by clubbing one of his own in the third off Mariners ace Luis Castillo. Ohtani absolutely obliterated a 1-0 changeup after a pitch-timer violation by Castillo. The homer left the bat at 112.9 mph and traveled a projected 440 feet. It was the 17th homer of the year for Ohtani and his second as a pitcher.

“I’m feeling really good at the plate right now,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. “And more than that, I’m just happy the team won.”

The Angels gave Ohtani the lead with an RBI single from Luis Rengifo in the fourth, but Ohtani couldn’t hold the lead in his final inning. He was again hurt by his control, as he walked No. 9 hitter José Caballero before plunking Julio Rodríguez with one out. Seattle tied it on a bloop RBI single from Ty France on a 3-2 cutter, but Ohtani escaped further trouble by getting Kelenic to ground into a 3-6-3 double play to end the inning on his 97th pitch.

Ohtani, though, wasn’t satisfied with the way his outing went.

“I didn’t feel really good overall today,” said Ohtani, who surrendered three runs on three hits, five walks and a hit batter with six strikeouts and has a 3.32 ERA in 13 starts this year. “Even more than my command, it’s the way I’m moving my body. I feel like I’m being less efficient moving my body.”

Ohtani hit a double off Castillo in the bottom of the inning, but was stranded when Mike Trout struck out to end the inning. Ohtani came up to the plate in the seventh looking for a triple to complete the cycle, but grounded out to first.

The Angels improved to 9-4 in Ohtani’s starts this season and extended their win streak to five games, thanks to a two-run blast from Mickey Moniak off Castillo in the sixth inning. 

“It felt great,” Moniak said. “I got beat by the heater my first two at-bats and even the first two pitches of that at-bat. So in that situation I tried to put the ball in play. That’s a good pitcher over there and to score five runs against him is huge and the kind of stuff we’re going to have to do going forward to win games.”

Source Link

You may also like

Leave a Comment