Real or not? Early exit, blister bring Shohei Ohtani back to earth

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Maybe we needed to slow down. Shohei Ohtani was making the game look a little too easy, and it most certainly is not easy.

In his third major league start, Ohtani scuffled with his fastball, couldn’t throw strikes with his off-speed stuff and then left after two innings and 66 pitches because of a blister. Obviously, depending on when the blister developed,reebok nfl jerseys it might have affected his performance. Keep in mind that Ohtani is adapting to a different baseball — the major league ball is slicker and smoother, while the Japanese ball has higher seams. That said, it was a rough outing and a reminder that while we saw peak Ohtani on April 8 against the A’s, he’s still a 23-year-old who might not be quite a finished product on the mound.

Of course, the Red Sox also present a different challenge than the Athletics, Ohtani’s opponent in his first two starts. The A’s are more of a three-true-outcomes kind of team — walks, strikeouts and home runs — the kind of lineup you can exploit when things are working. The Red Sox will battle more to put the ball in play and maybe do a better job of controlling the strike zone if you’re not throwing strikes. Indeed, Ohtani’s 66 pitches were the second-highest in the first two innings of a game this season, with the highest count also coming against the Red Sox.

One takeaway from this game is more of a long-term outlook for the Angels and how Mike Scioscia ultimately handles his six-man rotation, a group that is already down JC Ramirez for the season and has lost Matt Shoemaker to a current DL stint. Assuming the blister isn’t an issue, wouldn’t it be tempting to bring Ohtani back sooner than next Monday or Tuesday, given that he threw just 66 pitches? Same thing goes for Garrett Richards if he has a low-pitch game. That’s aside from the temptation to start using the Angels’ best pitchers more often if the American League West turns into a tight two-team race.212

Ohtani’s poor outing came as we released our annual ranking of MLB’s top players. I was one of the voters in the project, and it was almost impossible to rank Ohtani because he had made just two starts and was off to a hot start at the plate. nfl authentic jerseys cheap He ended up No. 52 on the list, though I had him higher. This start was a reminder that the baseball season is a long journey of highs and lows. For Ohtani, I still believe there will be a lot more highs than games such as this one.

P.S. With three three-homer games in his Red Sox career, Betts has tied Ted Williams for most three-homer games in Red Sox history. The Red Sox are also 14-2.