The pitching matchup between Griffin Canning and Nick Pivetta during Friday night’s Los Angeles Angels game against the Boston Red Sox was a great one. The two starters gave up a combined three runs, with one of those runs coming off of a Shohei Ohtani big fly over the Green Monster.
Ohtani finished 2-for-4 on the night with a double and a home run off Pivetta, who allowed just four hits the entire night. Both the double and the home run came on breaking balls, a pitch type that Ohtani has more so struggled to hit against than the fastball.
Canning couldn’t contain his excitement about Ohtani’s skill set, raving about what he saw on Friday in Boston, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“He’s so good,” said Angels right-hander Griffin Canning, who gave up two runs on six hits and two walks with seven strikeouts over six strong innings. “He’s such a freak athlete. He’s good at everything. I think we take it for granted, because we see it every day. Same thing with [Mike] Trout. But it’s a lot of fun to watch.”
Pivetta, while a little more understated, gave some praise to the Angels two-way star for his ability to hit difficult pitches.
“The first AB was a curveball, but it was middle-in and he hit a double off the wall,” Pivetta said. “I believe the second time, I punched him on a backdoor curveball, and the third time I went at him, I threw a good back-door breaking ball and he was somehow able to stay on it enough to hit it out.”
Ohtani has been mesmerizing Angels players and staff all season. However, what’s even more impressive is his ability to bring praise out of opposing pitchers and managers. Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow even had kind words after their four-game series earlier this month.
While Mike Trout is still the best player in the world, Ohtani has been the most talked about player in all of baseball this season. If he can continue his current rate of production at the plate and on the mound, then winning the AL MVP award is not out of the question.
Joe Maddon calls loss to Red Sox frustrating
Despite Ohtani’s home run, the Angels were unable to grab a win in their series opener against the Red Sox. This was because of a two-run home run allowed by a struggling Angels bullpen. Maddon spoke about the collapse in the seventh inning, calling the loss frustrating given what Griffin Canning gave them as the starter.