This Ohtani guy is a real slouch
Shohei Ohtani is leading the majors in home runs and is his team’s best pitcher. There isn’t much more he could do to help his team win. Ohtani allowed three hits and no runs over six innings on Monday night against Oakland, his longest scoreless start of the season. He also struck out eight batters and walked only one. And while he didn’t hit a 35th home run, he did have a perfectly respectable night at the plate, going 1-for-4 with a double and a strikeout. He even stayed in the game to play right field after he was done on the mound. And yet, the Angels lost 4–1.
And Ohtani was sorry he didn’t do more.
“As a pitcher, of course you want to have a good game and actually win, but that’s not always going to happen,” he told reporters through his interpreter. “I’m part of the fault for that, too. I’m in the lineup most of my starts. And today I was only able to get one hit. Maybe if I’m better, I get more run support for myself.”
It goes without saying that any team would be thrilled to have a pitcher who’s capable of doing what Ohtani does. A good baseball team shouldn’t have to rely on its starting pitcher to get more than one extra base hit in order to produce runs. (Ohtani’s double, by the way, would have resulted in an RBI if not for a perfect relay throw by Elvis Andrus.)
The fact of the matter is, the rest of the Angels aren’t that good right now. Not only is Mike Trout still out with an injury, they’re also missing Anthony Rendon and Justin Upton. Monday’s starting lineup featured Adam Eaton, who got cut by the White Sox just last week after posting a .201 batting average. And the A’s are just a better team. There’s no shame in losing to a team on the road that is comfortably ahead of you in the standings.
Who even knows if Ohtani sincerely believes that he could have had a better game? Maybe he’s just giving the typical mundane press conference answer. But the idea that he can be more helpful to his team is just so funny to me. He’s having the best season anyone has ever seen!
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