Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani showed diminished velocity during his start on Wednesday night against the Cleveland franchise.
Ohtani allowed two runs on five hits (including a solo home run surrendered to Jake Bauers) and a pair of walks. He threw 72 pitches over 4 ⅔ innings, striking out five batters in the process. As has become the norm, he also batted for himself as the Angels eschewed the designated hitter. When Joe Maddon made a pitching change in the fifth inning, inserting left-handed reliever Tony Watson, he moved Ohtani to right field. (Jose Rojas slid from right to left while Justin Upton moved from left to center, triggering Taylor Ward’s removal from the game.)
Ohtani went 0 for 2 at the plate during his pitching appearance. (As of press time, the Angels trailed Cleveland 3-2. You can follow along with the game by clicking here to access CBS Sports’ GameTracker.)
The most notable aspect of Ohtani’s night, other than his third career appearance in MLB at a non-pitcher defensive position, was his markedly reduced velocity. He threw 29 fastballs on the night, with the average clocking in at 91.3 mph and the max at 95.3 mph, according to Statcast. For reference, Ohtani’s seasonal average entering the night was 96.6 mph.
Ohtani’s tempered heat didn’t prevent him from generating 11 whiffs on 31 swings, good for a 35 percent rate. (His seasonal norm is around 38 percent.) Maddon didn’t seem overly concerned with Ohtani’s radar-gun readings, either, based on how he allowed him to remain in the contest.
Ohtani entered Wednesday hitting .271/.323/.632 (157 OPS+) with a majors-leading 14 home runs and six stolen bases (on eight tries). As a pitcher, he’d thrown 25 innings with a 2.10 ERA (210 ERA+) and a 2.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio over five starts.