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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Ohtani wins for Angels in 2-way start like none since Ruth

After giving up four runs while throwing 28 pitches in the first inning — when he walked two, hit another batter and threw a wild pitch — Ohtani got the Angels even at 4-4 in the top of the second when he had a two-run double and then scored on a single by Mike Trout, who had four hits in his return to the lineup.
...
The Japanese right-hander retired 14 of the last 15 batters he faced in five innings, with all of his strikeouts in that span. It was his first big league win since 2018, before Tommy John surgery that kept him off the mound for all of 2019 and most of last season.

Shohei Brotani (formerly LA Hombre) Posted: April 27, 2021 at 05:14 AM | 20 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels, babe ruth, shohei ohtani

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   1. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: April 27, 2021 at 08:15 AM (#6015628)
Trout seems intent to finish better than a "lowly" 5th place in the AL MVP voting this year.

Ohtani, however, is the coolest guy in the majors. Love that he is hitting during his starts.
   2. SoSH U at work Posted: April 27, 2021 at 08:18 AM (#6015629)
Rick Wise chuckles at the headline.
   3. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: April 27, 2021 at 10:03 AM (#6015643)
Wow, 23 K and 13 BB in 13.2 IP this season.
   4. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: April 27, 2021 at 10:11 AM (#6015645)
If he can get his walk rate down to 4.5/9 instead of 9/9, he'll be incredible. As it is, his pitch counts are super high, which means he's leaving games early and the Angels don't get the benefit of his bat late in games. The other thing he's dealing with is a blister problem - that's actually why he left yesterday's game. He was at a manageable 75 pitches and could have gone another inning or two.

But the control problem is the big one. For an inning or two each game, he looks like he has no idea where the ball is going, which has to be terrifying for hitters.
   5. Darren Posted: April 27, 2021 at 10:25 AM (#6015649)
Has anyone ever seen a swing that looks like Ohtani's before? I can't remember one. The closest I can think of is Plantier, but still not very close.
   6. Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: April 27, 2021 at 10:36 AM (#6015650)
It's hard for writers (and headline writers) not to engage in hyperbole when it comes to Ohtani. But yeah, he's the coolest player and maybe the most fun just based on the fact that he has virtually elite skills in every area. The odds are still somewhat against him putting *everything* together as a hitter and pitcher, but there still will be some awesome nights like last night to dream on.
   7. Snowboy Posted: April 27, 2021 at 12:39 PM (#6015668)
re: the headline
A day after hitting his seventh homer to tie for the MLB lead, Ohtani (1-0) became the first home run leader to be the starting pitcher for a game since Ruth for the New York Yankees against Detroit on June 13, 1921.
   8. Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: April 27, 2021 at 12:55 PM (#6015673)
Right. But that's going to be true for almost anything he's going to do this year as a hitter...the headline will always be some variation of he's the first pitcher to do "x" since Ruth. Which is still cool, of course.
   9. vortex of dissipation Posted: April 27, 2021 at 01:22 PM (#6015678)
While this is new for MLB, it's not new for Ohtani. He's been through this before in NPB. In 2016, he was the only player in NPB history to be selected to the best nine as both a pitcher and a DH. He hit .322/.416/.588 with 22 HR in 382 PA; and went 10-4, 1.86 on the mound in 140 innings with 89 H allowed, 45 BB and 174 K. So he's been through this before, and I think that experience will greatly enhance how he handles this. The one thing I don't know is if he hit in any of his pitching starts in Japan; I don't recall reading that he did. The walk ratio while pitching was much better there also. But the fact that it's not a completely new experience for him, even though the league is different, will help him to manage the workload.
   10. Itchy Row Posted: April 27, 2021 at 01:44 PM (#6015682)
he was the only player in NPB history to be selected to the best nine as both a pitcher and a DH
So that's the only recent year there were only nine in the Best Nine.
   11. Shredder Posted: April 27, 2021 at 01:49 PM (#6015683)
went 10-4, 1.86 on the mound in 140 innings with 89 H allowed, 45 BB and 174 K.
Just give me that walk rate and I'll be very happy. He's appointment viewing right now.
   12. Rally Posted: April 27, 2021 at 02:37 PM (#6015692)
The other thing he's dealing with is a blister problem - that's actually why he left yesterday's game. He was at a manageable 75 pitches and could have gone another inning or two.


That just sounds unbelievable to anyone who saw the first inning. He had absolutely no idea where the ball was going. Then he comes back for the 2nd and it's strike after strike.
   13. Shohei Brotani (formerly LA Hombre) Posted: April 27, 2021 at 03:41 PM (#6015703)
That just sounds unbelievable to anyone who saw the first inning. He had absolutely no idea where the ball was going. Then he comes back for the 2nd and it's strike after strike.
He just needs to throw enough fastball strikes to set up the split.

Ohtani ripping that 2-RBI double after the awful bottom of the first seemed to settle him down, gave him something to think about besides all the walks, and helped him relax. He's been pretty emphatic in saying that he thinks hitting in the games that he pitches helps him, and that may have been an example of how that happens. He's very expressive on the field, so you know there's a lot going on in his head. Batting maybe helps him reset after a bad inning on the mound.
   14. cookiedabookie Posted: April 27, 2021 at 04:01 PM (#6015707)
Has anyone ever seen a swing that looks like Ohtani's before?

Reminds me of Hideki Matsui's swing
   15. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 27, 2021 at 07:25 PM (#6015748)

The Japanese right-hander retired 14 of the last 15 batters he faced in five innings,


This is not a well written sentence.

   16. Howie Menckel Posted: April 27, 2021 at 08:01 PM (#6015754)
props to mlb.com for noting that other people played 2-way baseball between Ruth and Ohtani

"For Ted Radcliffe, who played in the Negro Leagues from 1929 to 1946 as a pitcher and catcher, playing both ways was not just a role but a brand. In a 1932 doubleheader between his Pittsburgh Crawfords and the New York Black Yankees at Yankee Stadium, Radcliffe hit a grand slam and caught the great Satchel Paige’s shutout in the first game, then threw a shutout of his own in the second. Renowned writer Damon Runyon saw the performance and dubbed him “Double Duty” -- the moniker Radcliffe, one of the Negro Leagues’ most lively ambassadors, would proudly wear for the rest of his 103 years."

HOMers Martin Dihigo and Bullet Joe Rogan also noted in the article:

"Seamheads’ database credits Dihigo with no fewer than 235 innings apiece at first base, second base, shortstop, third base, left field, center field and right field in a professional career that spanned 1922 to 1945."

"Rogan put his stuff to good use with 130 wins, a 2.66 ERA and a 142 ERA+ over 15 seasons with the Kansas City Monarchs..... Rogan, who stood a small but strong 5-foot-7, 160 pounds, added to his allure with his reputation as a superb defensive center fielder and a fantastic hitter with a particular talent for doing damage with the low ball."
   17. Cooper Teenoh Posted: April 27, 2021 at 10:58 PM (#6015786)
I think it was Smoltz on MLB Network radio who conjectured before the start that Ohtani might have a rough first inning because being in the dugout getting ready to bat before he pitched was a disruption of a pitcher's normal road start routine. Maybe Smoltz was lucky that it played out as he suspected, but it makes me wonder if having Ohtani bat at the top of the lineup in road starts is a mistake. If he batted in the bottom half of the lineup he could probably be in the bullpen doing his normal final warmups, since he would be unlikely to bat in the first inning.

I acknowledge that his control problems in the first two starts (both at home) were very different looking than in this start, so maybe it is all random.
   18. SoSH U at work Posted: April 27, 2021 at 11:05 PM (#6015787)
I think it was Smoltz on MLB Network radio who conjectured before the start that Ohtani might have a rough first inning because being in the dugout getting ready to bat before he pitched was a disruption of a pitcher's normal road start routine. Maybe Smoltz was lucky that it played out as he suspected, but it makes me wonder if having Ohtani bat at the top of the lineup in road starts is a mistake. If he batted in the bottom half of the lineup he could probably be in the bullpen doing his normal final warmups, since he would be unlikely to bat in the first inning.


If he bats at the bottom, there's a much better chance the Angels are going to need to pinch-hit for that spot three times rather than two.

   19. Cooper Teenoh Posted: April 27, 2021 at 11:14 PM (#6015789)
I think it was Smoltz on MLB Network radio who conjectured before the start that Ohtani might have a rough first inning because being in the dugout getting ready to bat before he pitched was a disruption of a pitcher's normal road start routine. Maybe Smoltz was lucky that it played out as he suspected, but it makes me wonder if having Ohtani bat at the top of the lineup in road starts is a mistake. If he batted in the bottom half of the lineup he could probably be in the bullpen doing his normal final warmups, since he would be unlikely to bat in the first inning.


If he bats at the bottom, there's a much better chance the Angels are going to need to pinch-hit for that spot three times rather than two.


True, but if it meant that he was likely to have a better start to the game that might be worth it. And I don't mean bat him 9th, but I wonder if having him 6, 7, or 8 would push him out of the first inning without taking on all of the likelihood of needing to pinch-hit for him three times. I know someone has the math to figure this out, it's just not me.
   20. SoSH U at work Posted: April 27, 2021 at 11:29 PM (#6015791)
Every spot you push him down is going to increase the number of pinch hitters you need to employ over the course of the season. In some games, it will be as few as 1. On occasion, it will be 4.

I never thought they'd let him hit when he pitched in AL parks, because they're committing to playing without a DH for about half the game against a team that has one. Of course, if he continues to hit like this, it makes the case for hitting him a whole lot stronger.

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