The Los Angeles Angels — after winning the series opener against the Cleveland Indians — dropped two straight by one run each. On Wednesday, it was Shohei Ohtani starting on the mound after back-to-back days with home runs. He was solid, but Joe Maddon pulled him after just 4.2 innings with some concerns over decreased velocity.
Ohtani allowed two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out five. However, his average velocity on his fastball was just 91.3 mph, instead of his usual 96.6 through his first five starts. Naturally, there was concern at Angel Stadium over whether or not Ohtani was healthy. Him playing in right field in the fifth and sixth inning could have helped to ease some of that in the moment.
After the game, Maddon revealed he shared the same concern as everyone else, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“You can see the velocity and when that happens, coaches and the manager and trainers start looking in the face, for any wincing,” Maddon said. “Is he holding back? Is there any pain? We couldn’t see anything different. … He came in the dugout. He was very confident and very upbeat. There weren’t any indicators other than the gun on the scoreboard.”
Ohtani reiterated he wasn’t injured, but declined to say whether or not he needed more rest in the coming weeks.
“It’s hard to say at this point. I wish I could have gone one or two more innings to help out the bullpen but I wasn’t able to do that.”
Ohtani has been doing an immense amount of heavy lifting for the Angels, and that was before the injury to Mike Trout. Over the next few weeks, the Angels are likely to be very careful with their two-way superstar, as they’re no use risking an injury when they’re already not at full strength.
At this point, it would be surprising if Ohtani makes his next start on schedule, as he already had to have this start pushed back one day for extra rest. A five-mile per hour dip in velocity is not something that can be ignored, so Maddon and Ohtani will have to be very open about how available he can be in the coming games.
Mike Trout out 6-8 weeks
Trout will be out for 6-8 weeks with a Grade 2 right calf strain. He suffered the injury in the Angels win on Monday, and the Halos are 0-2 since. They’ll try to keep the ship afloat in his absence, but are already 6 games below .500 with a continued difficult stretch of schedule coming up.