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Ohtani can put that tough start in New York behind him as he held the Red Sox to 2 runs over 7 innings. It was a very uncharacteristic start from Ohtani which can be seen as good or bad depending on your pitching perspective. Either way you look at it, he got the job done and he made his case to be the starting pitcher for the American League at the All Star Game.
The Bronx proved too much for Shohei Ohtani
Before his start in New York, Ohtani was the owner of a 2.58 ERA. If his ERA was around the same then it would have been a much easier decision but after the debacle in the Bronx, his ERA went up to 3.60. He gave up 7 earned runs while only being able to record 2 outs. Crazy that the Angels still won that game after a Walsh grand slam in the 9th off of Chapman to tie the game 8-8.
Anyways, if that was his last start leading into the All Star Game then I don’t think there would’ve been any doubt that Ohtani wouldn’t be the starting pitcher. But he had one more start scheduled before the All Star Game. A start against the Red Sox awaited him. Not the best team to try and lower your ERA against.
Biggest start of his career
The start against the Red Sox could have easily made the case that he didn’t deserve to be at the All Star Game as a pitcher. Back to back losses from good AL East teams could have put into doubt the legitimacy of Ohtani’s pitching abilities. One could argue that it was the biggest start of his career.
Ohtani again seemed rattled in the first inning as he gave up a lead off double to Kike Hernandez. He ended up getting out of the inning with only 1 run. And it was smooth sailing after that. In the following 6 inning Ohtani gave up 4 hits and 1 run while striking out 4. It only took him 89 pitches to get through 7 innings.
Ohtani unhappy to be taken out at 89 pitches
He didn’t seem happy when he got the notice that he was being taken out. He obviously wanted to stay in the game and try to pitch a complete game. Although a complete game might never be likely for Ohtani. The energy exerted from 4-5 plate appearances might make it hard to pitch 100+ pitches over 9 innings.
Ohtani has a 3.49 ERA on the season. Not great, but it will get the job done. That start might have been enough to convince AJ Hinch to give Ohtani the nod to start the All Star Game. One thing to note from yesterday’s game is that Ohtani only had 4 strikeouts over 7 innings.
New and improved Ohtani coming soon?
It was the first time that Ohtani failed to record a strikeout in his first 2 innings of a game. His velocity was slightly down as well and he didn’t seem to be overpowering like he usually is. Location was the biggest key as he threw 65 strikes out of 89 pitches. This was also his first start with Max Stassi which was a result of Ohtani having some concerns of Suzuki’s calls in his start in New York.