There’s a composure that comes with every Shohei Ohtani pitching day.
No rushed innings, no rushed sequences. When he needs to take a deep breath, he does. When he needs some more time between pitches, he paces, if only for a moment. If he throws an undesirable pitch, he moves on.
On Wednesday, he had a few undesirable pitches, which resulted in the Oakland Athletics getting two earned runs off of him (three runs total).
The Angels lost to the A’s 3-1, another game in which adequate run support was nowhere to be found. The Angels offense scattered six hits, overall going one for 10 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base.
Ohtani pitched 5 2/3 innings of seven-hit baseball, including those runs, with a quiet night (0 for 3) at the plate, himself. He was also pulled for a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning. He started off with his typical command, throwing the first two innings without giving up a hit. He gave up just a single in the third, running into a hiccup in the fourth.
Ohtani had started to look as if he was running out of steam despite not yet throwing 50 pitches to that point. The fourth started with his leadoff batter, Ramon Laureano, reaching on a throwing error from third base by Luis Rengifo.
Ohtani threw a wild pitch to his next batter, Sean Murphy, that went into the dirt, fast rolling away from catcher Max Stassi to the backstop, which allowed Laureano to advance to second base. That at-bat concluded with Murphy hitting a grounder that rolled just too far to the right of David Fletcher and into right field, allowing Laureano to score.
He got through the fifth inning mostly unscathed, pointing out to left fielder Magneuris Sierra and Rengifo — after Sierra picked up a hard hit grounder that rolled into the outfield and chucked the ball to Rengifo for the final out of the inning, at third base.
The sixth was Ohtani’s most costly. Laureano again managed to hit a single off him and Murphy followed that up with a two-run home run right into the visitor’s bullpen over the left-field wall. As Laureano and Murphy jogged around the bases, Ohtani didn’t miss a beat.
He bent over to adjust his pants legs, turned around to get the next baseball from home plate umpire Nestor Ceja, walked back onto the mound, where he stood and stared into the outfield, then turned back around to face his next batter.
Ohtani couldn’t get through the sixth inning. Usually, when he knows he’s on his last batter, he’ll empty the tank and get that last batter out. He couldn’t Wednesday and after giving up a single to his last batter on his 99th pitch of the game, out came interim manager Phil Nevin to take the ball from him.
Ohtani walked to the dugout with a standing ovation.
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