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Astros spoil Ohtani’s return to the mound

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Limited by a pitch count, the two-way phenom couldn’t make up the other deficiencies on the team.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Houston Astros Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Astros 4, Angels 2

The long-awaited return of Shohei Ohtani took a turn for the worse. He started off the game with two scoreless innings, pumping in his fastball at 97 mph and his splitter at 91 mph, but for some reason he cooled off in the third inning, with the fastball at 91 and the splitter at 83. In that third inning, George Springer hit a 77 mph slider out of the ballpark for a two-run homer, and Ohtani’s night was done.

Whether Mike Scioscia saw something in Ohtani’s mechanics or was sticking to a strict pitch count remains to be seen, but the fact is Ohtani was out after 49 pitches.

Meanwhile, Gerrit Cole was mowing down Angels, only allowing one run on a fielder’s choice groundout to Jefry Marte that really should’ve been turned into a double play. Cole struck out nine Angels in 5.2 innings. Speaking of Cole, the broadcast team on ESPN felt he had a rough go of it from the blue crew, as the home plate umpire made several close calls against Cole, according to Alex Rodriguez. Interestingly enough, when the Angels had calls go against them, the broadcast stayed silent, such as when Mike Trout took two strikes in the ninth inning a baseball off the plate and struck out looking.

Odrisamer Despaigne came up firing in the 5th inning, allowing four straight runners to reach without getting an out. When Noe Ramirez came in the relieve him with the bases loaded and no one out, he somehow got out of it with no further damage allowed, setting us up for the Buttercup.

And it happened. David Fletcher’s HBP with the bags loaded in the 6th set the bases loaded for Trout with the tying run 90 feet away, but he lined out to short. The next inning, Junichi Tazawa, he of the very high ERA in Triple-A, gave up a solo homer to Alex Bregman on the first pitch, and that was all the hope for the Angels.

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