Angels 7, A’s 4
It must have been a joke. Spring Training must have been a joke. All the low-90s fastballs. All the flat breaking balls. All the command issues.
Because today, Shohei Ohtani toed the rubber and delivered pitch after pitch. Starting with an electric first inning, striking out Marcus Semien and Matt Olson, he hit the targets Martin Maldonado set for him, throwing the fastball at 97-100 mph and dropping breaking balls in for strikes or burying them in the dirt. After the Angels staked him to a 2-0 in the top of the second, Ohtani ran into a spot of trouble when he allowed singles to Matt Joyce and Stephen Piscotty, then proceeded to hang a breaking ball to Matt Chapman, who hooked it into the left field seats.
Ohtani would not give up another hit. He went 6 strong innings, allowing just the 3-run-homer to Chapman, striking out 6 and walking 1. It was clear that the Oakland hitters were baffled. Multiple times throughout the day they would swing halfway, thinking that the pitch was right in their wheelhouse and realize that the bottom was dropping out of the pitch.
All-in-all, a very quality first start for Shohei Ohtani, who was cheered on by his parents.
His next appearance will probably be Tuesday at the plate against the Indians.
The Angels offense showed up again Sunday afternoon, buoyed by the A’s defense slipping and sliding all over the place. Khris Davis dropped two balls in left, and infielders couldn’t seem to place their gloves over the ball. Jefry Marte and Andrelton Simmons had three-hit games, and newfound buddies at the top of the lineup Zack Cozart and Mike Trout had two hits apiece.
As wont to do lately, the bullpen made things very interesting in the 9th. Blake Parker continued his shaky start to the season, allowing three runners on, and Keynan Middleton threw a wild pitch and walked a batter before getting a soft liner to Cozart to end the game.
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