The Los Angeles Angels suffered a blowout loss in their second of three Freeway Series meetings with the L.A. Dodgers. Shohei Ohtani, who started on the mound and as the No. 2 batter, struggled mightily with his command. In 2.1 innings, he allowed seven earned runs and five walks before being removed from the game.
After his removal, it was announced that the decision to pull him was made because of a blister that surfaced during his last start against the San Diego Padres. There’s no way of telling if it was the exact cause of his poor outing, but he and manager Joe Maddon quelled any long-term concerns that may have arisen.
Ohtani expressed relief that the blister peeled off before his upcoming regular season start, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“‘I’m not too worried for my next outing,’ Ohtani said through his interpreter. ‘I’m glad the blister peeled off today before the games actually matter… I have a whole week ahead of me to try to toughen it up.'”
Maddon shared these sentiments after speaking with the Angels trainer, who said there should be no issues for Ohtani heading into his next start:
“‘Right now I’ve been told it’s not going to affect’ Ohtani making his first start of the season against the Chicago White Sox on Sunday, manager Joe Maddon said. ‘Adam (Nevala), our trainer, was pretty certain that he’s going to be fine, or he is fine.'”
According to both Ohtani and Maddon, the two-way phenom should be good to go when the Angels take on the Chicago White Sox on Sunday. It will be the fourth and final game of the Angels opening series, and it will be on a day where Ohtani has shown plenty of comfort on the mound.
In Ohtani’s 2018 Rookie of the Year season, he fared significantly better on Sunday’s than he did any other day of the week. In 5 Sunday starts, Ohtani went 4-0 with a 2.18 ERA to go along with 44 strikeouts and just 7 walks. In five non-Sunday starts, Ohtani went 0-2 with a 4.9 ERA, 19 strikeouts and 15 walks.
Perhaps Ohtani will be able to recreate that magic against a young and talented White Sox team. If he can, it would be a sign that his health issues and command struggles are a thing of the past.
Angels make flurry of bullpen moves
With all other position groups essentially solidified, the Angels still had work to do on their bullpen. This was before Monday night when the Halos added Steve Cishek, Tony Watson, James Hoyt, and Noe Ramirez, essentially guaranteeing they have eight relievers ready to go by Opening Day.
As it stands, the Angels could have as many as 15 relief options throughout the regular season.