After some technical difficulties between Shohei Ohtani and Bay Area Rapid Transit on Thursday, he finally got his start on the mound Friday evening. For this start, Joe Maddon decided to have him solely pitch, rather than pitch and hit the way he has done in his most recent starts. And much to Maddon’s credit, the results were mostly good.
Ohtani pitched 6.0 innings, and was flawless for most of them. He wound up allowing three runs to score, but only one of his earned runs actually came when he was on the field. The other two were inherited runners allowed by Steve Cishek. Three runs were all the Oakland Athletics needed, however, as the Angels fell 3-1 and dropped their second straight game.
Even still, the outing gave Maddon something to think about in terms of whether Ohtani should pitch and hit in the same game, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“I think he showed tonight he pitched pretty well just by pitching,” Maddon said. “I don’t know if that’s how we’re going to do it future-wise. I don’t think because he did so well that’s going to shut the door in any way on him doing both things in the same game. I just think he feels pretty good on how he threw the ball tonight.”
There’s certainly an argument to be made that Ohtani is more calm and in control of his pitches when he’s not raising his adrenaline by hitting as well. But the facts remain that he is one of the best hitters in all of baseball, and the Angels desperately need him.
For the night, the Angels were able to collect six hits without Ohtani, but could only turn it into one run. As long as Mike Trout is not healthy, it’s a difficult proposition for the Halos to be productive offensively if Ohtani isn’t in the lineup either.
Maddon has shown faith in the rest of the team to overcome not having Ohtani in the lineup, but it’s not something that can happen on a consistent basis. At least until Trout comes back, it’s probably for the best that Ohtani hits when he pitches.
Aaron Slegers optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake
Angels reliever Aaron Slegers started the season as one of the team’s best bullpen arms. However, the turn of fortunes in the relief crew has affected him more than anyone, as he has really struggled over the past month. Because of it, he was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake on Friday.