The Los Angeles Angels have let Shohei Ohtani dictate his own playing schedule for a majority of the 2021 season. The results have been incredible, as Ohtani is proving himself to be one of the most unique players in recent MLB history. However, they have been more cautious when it comes to his pitching frequency.
He had his most recent start pushed back one day due to fatigue. Then, Ohtani came out and pitched 4.2 innings with significantly decreased fastball velocity, seeing a drop of almost five miles per hour. Immediately after that, manager Joe Maddon made it clear that his next start would not come after a normally scheduled five-day break.
He later revealed that Ohtani will pitch this Friday against the Oakland Athletics, giving him eight days of rest between starts, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“It’s going to be Friday, as of right now,” Maddon said. “He’s been good. I check in every night. I checked in again last night and wanted to make sure he felt great. But other than the velocity on the gun, he really hasn’t complained about anything. And he wasn’t even complaining about that. I try to do my due diligence with him daily, and he says he feels fine.”
Maddon also said that Monday’s off-day could be of huge benefit to Ohtani, in addition to greater communication about his energy level on a day-to-day basis.
“We have the off-day coming up, which is going to be very helpful, too,” Maddon said. “I’m going to look to give him another day [off] in there somewhere. We need to be a little bit more proactive, and I’m going to talk to him about that.”
Having eight days off between starts should give Ohtani a nice reset on his stamina. He also sat for a majority of Sunday’s win against the Athletics, playing just the final three innings. That and a Monday off day could be all he needs to be ready for Friday.
Hopefully, his velocity will be back where it needs to be for him to be at his most dominant. If it isn’t, Maddon could potentially shut him down for a longer period of time than just a week, or give him more off days altogether.
Justin Upton hoping comeback win provides spark
The Angels completing a 4-run comeback to grab a 6-5 win is something that Justin Upton is hoping isn’t just a one-game thing. He ensured fans that the Angels have not lost hope for the season and are working hard to keep things afloat. Wins like Sunday certainly help towards building confidence towards that goal.