The Los Angeles Angels came into the 2021 season with an intentional choice to feature a six-man starting rotation. While it is an unusual choice — with most teams employing five starters — the Angels wanted to ensure that their pitchers, like Shohei Ohtani, would have sufficient time to rest between starts.
They also wanted the opportunity to shuffle the order in case one of their pitchers needed an extra day off. It appears that this will be the case with Ohtani this weekend. Ohtani was scheduled to pitch on Sunday in the final game against the Toronto Blue Jays. However, manager Joe Maddon announced that his start would be skipped in favor of Alex Cobb.
Maddon also said that the impetus for the decision came because of Ohtani’s blister, which is still not 100% healed, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
Shohei Ohtani will not start on the mound this weekend because he’s dealing with a blister, so his next outing will be pushed back to sometime next week, Manager Joe Maddon said on Thursday night.
Maddon eased the nerves of fans by reiterating that his blister is healing well, but they want to take one last precaution.
“It’s gotten a lot better,” Maddon said. “That’s why we’re holding him back. We want this to be totally well.”
This came at the same time as an announcement that Jose Quintana would be the starter for Saturday, with Cobb taking Ohtani’s place on Sunday. Ohtani can take the mound during the Angels three-game set against the Kansas City Royals from Monday-Wednesday, or he could wait until the following weekend when they are back at home against the Minnesota Twins.
It doesn’t appear that Ohtani’s blister will be a long term concern. Maddon has made it sound like they just want to skip one start to make sure that everything heals perfectly before sending him back into action. In the meantime, he’ll continue to DH, where he has done relatively good work this season.
Ohtani, through seven games, is slashing .280/.333/.600 with two home runs and four RBI’s.
Maddon credits Dylan Bundy for pitching like an ace
While Ohtani may be thew most talented pitcher on the Angels roster, it is Dylan Bundy who has rightfully assumed the role of the ace. This is after an incredible 2020 season and an even better start to 2021.
In two starts, Bundy has looked like one of the better pitchers in the American League, and Maddon took notice of this very quickly.