Shohei Ohtani has been — for the most part — dominant as a starting pitcher this season. While he’s made more headlines as a hitter, he still has a 3.21 ERA and 1.16 WHIP while pitching the second-most innings by any Angels player this season. Part of the reason for this success is Joe Maddon trying not to overwork him on the mound.
Normally, starting pitchers are a part of five-man rotations, meaning they get four days off in between every start, with some exceptions. However, Maddon has managed to avoid this with Ohtani, who has not pitched on less than five days rest so far this year. He’s pitched on five days rest five times and on six or more days rest a whopping nine times.
Because of this, Maddon pushed Ohtani’s next scheduled start from Sunday to Monday, meaning he won’t see the Minnesota Twins as a pitcher and will wait until the Halos are back in Anaheim against the Colorado Rockies, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“The plan is to keep Shohei on six,” manager Joe Maddon said.
This meant that Sunday’s starter was not yet determined. Instead of going out of order with one of the other starters on their roster, Maddon could turn to someone with Triple-A Salt Lake.
“We’re still trying to figure out what that day will look like. We’ll have that in the next few days.”
There are several options the Angels could go with. While 2020 first-round pick Reid Detmers may be the exciting choice, it’s unlikely given that he is yet to pitch in a Triple-A game, making his debut on Saturday.
Chris Rodriguez also recently made the move from Double-A to Triple-A, but he is equally unlikely as Maddon clearly felt he needed more development as a starter. This leaves perhaps the most realistic — if not unexciting — option of Jaime Barria.
Barria is currently scheduled to pitch on Monday for the Salt Lake Bees. However, he would be on normal rest for Sunday, making him a perfect fit to get the call up. Barria has a 4.41 ERA with 34 strikeouts in 49 innings over 10 starts with the Bees.
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