The Los Angeles Angels have been cautious with their players this season when it comes to injury and overworking them. However, Shohei Ohtani has been unleashed in a way that seemed unfathomable in his first three seasons. He has played in 37 of the Angels 39 games, and has put together five high quality starts on the mound.
After throwing a gem of a performance in last Tuesday’s loss to the Houston Astros, his next scheduled start was going to come this Tuesday against the Cleveland Indians back in Anaheim. This would have given him exactly one week between starts, which is the normal rest time for a six-man rotation.
However, Joe Maddon changed course on this after Wednesday’s loss to the Astros, saying that he will now pitch on Wednesday, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“I thought he looked fatigued for the first time [on Wednesday], but then he had a day off and he’s looked fine here,” Maddon said. “So moving it forward, I thought it would be wise to move him back just a little bit. Make sure that tanks fill up again.”
Maddon also said that he’s going to be careful with Ohtani’s pitching workload as the season goes along.
“I’m not expecting him to be a 200-inning pitcher this year,” Maddon said. “But if we move this around a little bit and keep him strong and his arm strong, it’s probably the best way to get maximum utility out of him.”
Pushing Ohtani’s start back by one day may not seem like much, but it means he’ll have over a week between starts. This means he’ll have plenty of time to recover from his longest outing of the season, when he went 7.0 innings.
He’ll still be able to pitch against the Indians, who come into their series against the Angels at 21-17, second place in the American League Central. The Angels desperately need Ohtani and the other pitchers to make an impact against a quality opponent, as they are already falling behind in the divisional and Wild Card race.
Griffin Canning raves about Ohtani
After Ohtani did incredible work with his bat against the Boston Red Sox, Angels pitcher Griffin Canning had nothing but kind words. He profusely praised Ohtani and what he’s been able to do this season.
After the two-way star’s game-winning home run on Sunday, he is now tied for the MLB lead in home runs while also being one of the Angels best pitchers.