Another Nice Thing We Can't Have in 2020: Shohei Ohtani's Pitching

Another Nice Thing We Can't Have in 2020: Shohei Ohtani's Pitching

The list of things that haven’t gone according to plan in 2020 is long enough to reach to the moon and back, and to that, we can add the return of Shohei Ohtani to competitive pitching. After more than a year spent recovering from Tommy John surgery, the 26-year-old wonder’s reacquaintance with the mound was hotly anticipated, but after two brief and miserable outings, he’s injured, and Angels manager Joe Maddon said on Tuesday that he doesn’t expect to see Ohtani pitch again this year. On Sunday, Ohtani made his second start of the season, and it began with promise, as he retired the top of the Astros’ lineup — George Springer, Jose Altuve, and Alex Bregman — in order on a total of eight pitches. He topped 95 mph a few times with his four-seamer, struck out Springer swinging at a splitter, and induced Altuve to pop up a bunt foul. Here’s the Springer strikeout: Things were looking up, particularly given that in his July 26 start against the A’s, Ohtani failed to retire any of the six hitters he faced, yielding three hits, three walks, and five runs. Though he dialed his fastball as high as 97.1 mph in the second inning on Sunday, he labored and grew visibly frustrated while walking the bases loaded on 26 pitches. He went to two strikes on six consecutive hitters, squandering 0-2 counts twice before striking out Kyle Tucker and Jack Mayfield. By the time he walked both Dustin Garneau and ...
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