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Shohei Ohtani shows filthy stuff, also wild in scoreless start

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Angels homer three times to beat Rangers

Texas Rangers v Los Angeles Angels Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Shohei Ohtani epitomized effectively wild in his first game on a mound in 16 days, pitching into and out of jams in four scoreless innings in the Angels’ 6-2 win over the Rangers.

After dealing with a blister on his right hand that kept him away from pitching the last two weeks, Ohtani only allowed one hit on Tuesday night in Anaheim, a second-inning single by Brock Holt. But the Rangers were patient, including drawing three straight walks in the first inning. Ohtani escaped that bases-loaded jam with strikeouts of Nick Solak and Willie Calhoun, setting a pattern for the night.

Texas had a runner on in all four innings against Ohtani, who walked six and even hit a batter, throwing 80 pitches. But he also struck out seven, including finishing off six whiffs with the splitter.

The combination of at least six walks and seven strikeouts has only been done 90 other times in Angels history, the last by Chuck Finley in 1998. Nolan Ryan, unsurprisingly, accounted for 57 such games. But none of those pitchers amassed those walks and strikeouts in as few as four innings, making Ohtani’s game unique in franchise history.

Tuesday was also similar to Ohtani’s other pitching start this year, when he walked five and struck out seven in 4⅔ innings, allowing three runs (one earned run). The stuff is fantastic. But considering this was just Ohtani’s fourth game pitching since 2018, the rust is still there.

Notes

  • The Angels matched a season high with three home runs (also April 4, Ohtani’s last start). Mike Trout hit his fifth of the season, Albert Pujols hit the 664th of his career, and Kurt Suzuki’s two-run shot was his first homer as an Angel.
  • Suzuki also caught 12 strikeouts from Angels pitchers on Tuesday, making him just the 16th catcher in major league history with at least 10,000 putouts.

Tuesday particulars

WP — Griffin Canning (1-1): 2⅓ IP, 2 hits, 2 runs, 2 strikeouts

LP — Jordan Lyles (1-1): 6 IP, 5 hits, 3 runs, 5 strikeouts