Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani has pitched 123.1 innings this season. This is the highest number of innings he’s pitched in a season since 2016 in Japan — 140.0 — and by far the most he’s pitched in a season in the Major Leagues.
But he’s still nowhere close to the workload of other top pitchers in baseball. Ohtani ranks 82nd in innings pitched among all MLB pitchers, with the top spot belonging to Zach Wheeler at 200.1. Clearly, Ohtani does not need to pitch more to achieve personal success, with the MVP all but his for this season.
However, the Angels are simply better when Ohtani is on the mound. In his time this season, he has a 3.28 ERA and a 9-2 record. The Angels are 13-9 when he’s pitched, meaning that more Ohtani on the mound should translate to more success.
Joe Maddon still does not plan on increasing Ohtani’s workload next season, saying that the amount he’s pitching now — every five to six days — is plenty given his offensive output, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“That’s the price you pay, or that’s the method you have to employ in order to have this guy play both, pitch and hit,” Maddon said. “I have not thought otherwise. I’m pretty certain it will remain the same, like you’ve seen this year.”
Maddon also believes that they can get all of their other pitchers on a normal schedule while also accommodating Ohtani needing extra rest.
“If we get some veteran guys, real solid veteran guys who like to go every fifth day, I think it would be worked through,” Maddon said. “I don’t think it’s going to be that big of a problem, if it happens.”
It’s certainly an interesting thought experiment to see what would happen if Ohtani pitched on four days rest like most other starters. But given what he brings to the table on offense, it makes more sense to give him as much rest as possible.
Because of this, it puts an added pressure on the Angels organization to find reliable starting pitching. If they can get a couple trusted veterans to add to Ohtani, Patrick Sandoval, and Jose Suarez, they may have something really good to work with.
So far, the only name attached to the Angels in free agency is Max Scherzer. However, it’s unclear if he would leave the L.A. Dodgers and what the price would be for a player of his caliber and his age.
Ohtani homers in fifth straight loss
The Angels were officially eliminated from postseason contention on Tuesday night. It was an ugly all-around game, as they gave up 10 runs to the Houston Astros for the second night in a row.
Perhaps the only positive outcome was — who else — Ohtani, who hit his 45th home run of the season to pull within one of the MLB home run lead.