On Tuesday night, Kurt Suzuki was the catcher for Shohei Ohtani for the first time this season. While Ohtani believes he suffered from huge command issues, he still threw a relative gem of a game with Suzuki backing him up.
Ohtani gave up zero runs in four innings while only allowing one hit and six walks while striking out seven. It was a big night for Suzuki as well, as he got to witness Ohtani’s pitching first hand while also hitting a home run of his own during the game.
After the Angels 6-2 win over the Texas Rangers, Suzuki raved about what he saw from the two-way star. He put Ohtani on the level of some of the other great pitchers that he’s caught, including Max Scherzer, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“It’s some of the best stuff that I’ve caught, with (Max) Scherzer, (Stephen) Strasburg and guys like that,” Suzuki said. “I’d put his stuff up there with those guys. He’s a special talent. I’m very excited to see him do well. It’s a beautiful thing to see.”
This is extremely high praise for Suzuki, who has been in the league for a very long time and has caught some remarkable pitchers. To put Ohtani on that level in just his fourth season — and second on the mound — should give a huge boost of confidence to him and the Angels organization.
In 8.2 innings this year, Ohtani is showing exactly what type of pitcher he can be. His only flaw has been a struggle to throw strikes, as he has 11 walks in those two starts. Everything else has been phenomenal, as he has 14 strikeouts and has allowed three hits and a single earned run for an ERA of 1.04.
Perhaps Suzuki will get other chances to catch for Ohtani as the 2021 season goes along, even once Max Stassi returns to the Angels lineup.
Ohtani says his control was a “zero out of 100”
The Angels pitcher was critical of himself after his scoreless appearance due to the amount of balls he threw. In 80 pitches, he only threw 37 strikes, and said afterwards that his control was a “zero out of 100.” That’s something he hopes to fix with the reintroduction of his fastball in his next start.