Shohei Ohtani already possesses a five-pitch arsenal, making him one of the best starting pitchers in all of Major League Baseball. Still, he recently began working on another pitch to add to his mix.
In Monday’s matchup between the Los Angeles Angels and The Seattle Mariners, Ohtani wasn’t as sharp as he would’ve liked requiring 97 pitches to make it through six innings. Only allowing two runs on seven hits while striking out eight Mariners kept his team in a position to win when he turned the ball over to the bullpen.
Heading into Monday’s start, Ohtani’s four-seam fastball and cutter were both being hit at a high clip, mainly due to his lack of a pitch with arm side run, and Ohtani explained he’s felt good experimenting with the two-seamer and it was a solid time to use it in-game, via Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“The biggest flaw for me today was throwing too many balls,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. “I was messing with my [two-seamer] playing catch and in bullpens and felt it was time to break it out.”
Ohtani has taken a step forward on the mound this season following his 2021 Most Valuable Player campaign. Baseball Savant only charted six of his ‘two-seamers’ on Monday and as he begins to feel more comfortable with the pitch he’ll find more spots to utilize it.
“I thought he pitched great,” interim manager Phil Nevin said. “He threw a lot of fastballs, including his two-seamer, which he’s been working on. He made a lot of really good pitches.”
On the season, Ohtani is 10-7 with a 2.69 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP in 117 innings pitched and has logged at least six innings in all but one of his prior eight starts.
Other pitchers adding two-seamer/sinker
Much of Ohtani’s motive to add a sixth pitch to this mix is that both his four-seam and cut-fastball have been getting hit around for a few seasons. That isn’t to say they aren’t effective pitches, the numbers indicate that they have not been as good as his offspeed stuff in put-away situations.
Closer for the Atlanta Braves, Kenley Jansen added a two-seamer recently to compliment his cutter and has seen a jump in his performance and ability to gameplan hitters.
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