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Before the season started, there were some doubts about Ohtani. Ohtani hadn’t really proven that he could perform as a 2-way player with the Angels. All those doubts are slowly fading away.
Ohtani’s inconsistency has been his Achilles heel
Ohtani has not pitched much since he came to the Angels in 2018. He started 10 games in 2018, 0 games in 2019, 2 games in 2020, and 6 games in 2021. The numbers show that he is a liability when it comes to injuries and constant blisters are something to expect with him. In 2021, he’s been relatively consistent. He’s not missing too many starts and has already started 6 games this season.
Maddon is looking to pitch him once a week instead of the usual 5 day rotation. The reason for this is that Ohtani simply leaves too much on the mound. He is consistently hurling fastballs in the high 90s and is driving the ball a mile during his at-bats. Once a week is fine and the Angels should be thankful if they even get that consistently.
Ohtani takes the mound on Thursday
Ohtani’s next start is scheduled for Thursday against the A’s. That would mark over a week of rest since his last start against the Indians when he gave 2 runs in 4.2 innings. It was a rather odd performance by Ohtani since we’re used to seeing him light up the radar gun. His fastballs were hitting low 90s velocity. On the plus side, he only gave up 2 walks.
There hasn’t been much said about why Ohtani’s velocity dropped in that game. There was no injury reported and he was in the lineup consistently since then. Could it have been an experiment to see if maybe lower velocity could get him to control location more? Ohtani has definitely struggled with walks in his career. This year he has given up 22 walks in just 30.1 innings of work. Not great by any means. Although in his last 2 starts, he has only given up 3 walks in 11.2 innings.
Should Angel fans be worried?
Whether it was an injury, adjustment, or fatigue he looked like a different pitcher on the mound. It wasn’t great but it wasn’t bad either and that’s exactly what the Angels are asking for. While their offense is struggling a bit, they can still hold their own. Also Ohtani just hit his 15th home run of the year which is good enough for second at the moment.
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