The Los Angeles Angels were coming off a 14-8 blowout win over the Baltimore Orioles, making it the 19th straight game that the Orioles were on the losing end of. They had their ace in Shohei Ohtani — who has been perhaps the best pitcher in baseball since July 1 — on the mound.
All of that added to what should have been a surefire win. Except they couldn’t get it done, and it started with Ohtani having an off night by his standards. He gave up three home runs over five innings pitched, leading to four earned runs. It was the first time in his career that he had given up more than one home run in a game.
Joe Maddon spoke about Ohtani’s performance on the mound and what may have contributed to his rare home run issues, according to Savannah McCann of MLB.com:
“He didn’t have his great stuff,” Maddon added. “He gave up a couple of homers. Obviously, he doesn’t give up a lot of those, although this ballpark plays like that. Still, overall, maybe not the normal good stuff that we’ve seen.”
Despite Ohtani’s human outing, the Angels still led 6-4 when he was removed from the game to start the sixth inning. Due to various injuries and COVID-related IL stints, the Angels’ bullpen was thin, and they gave up six runs between the seventh and eighth inning to lose the game 10-6.
Ohtani did not have his best night, but he still could have won with a better bullpen performance. Instead, he now has to wonder about when his next start will come. For the first time in his career, the Angels may need him to start on shorter rest, something he’s prepared to do if needed.
“It’s completely up to the team,” Ohtani said. “If they tell me to go on shorter days’ rest, I’ll be up for it. At the same time, it’s not just the rotation, a bunch of our position players and main guys are out right now. So, I feel like I need to contribute on the hitting side also.”
Ohtani gave up the three home runs on the mound, but also went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts at the plate. At a certain point, it’s hard not to wonder if this otherworldly work load is catching up to him.
Like always, the conversations between Maddon and Ohtani will be ongoing, and if he’s able, he’ll start on shorter rest to give the team some relief from their slew of new injuries.
Brandon Marsh whacks first career homer
After going 3-for-5 in the series-opening blowout win, Marsh was praised for his remarkable hot streak at the plate. Clearly, the young outfielder wasn’t done, as he hit a three-run home run in his first at-bat Wednesday.
It was the first of his career after hitting two triples in Detroit that were just inches away from being hit out of the park.