It was very fitting to have Shohei Ohtani start in the final game of the year at the Big A. The future AL MVP made what was possibly his last start of the season and his last start at home this afternoon.
This was only the third start of his career against Seattle and Ohtani’s fastball velocity was up early, where he dialed it up to 97 and 98 in the first inning; which he now normally saves for later innings. His battery mate Suzuki started off the scoring in the bottom of the second by blasting a 384 foot home run off Gonzales giving the Halos a 1-0 lead.
Ohtani’s pitch variety always changes as his game plan evolves and varies based on his opponents and how he’s feeling. By the start of the 3rd inning, he’d thrown first pitch sliders to 5 of the 7 batters he’d faced. He also recorded another milestone today as he had his 150th strikeout this season to end the 3rd inning. Ohtani is the first Angels pitcher to reach 150 strikeouts in a single season since Andrew Heaney in 2018.
Shohei Ohtani has struck out 150 batters.— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) September 26, 2021
He's also hit 45 homers.
Shohei is one of a kind. pic.twitter.com/KcuWfvbvv6
Ohtani worked his way out of a jam in the top of the 6th at 98 pitches and then led off the bottom of the 6th by ripping a 99.6 mph single before heading back to the mound for the top of the 7th. This kind of performance has come to be almost expected from Ohtani but it is truly extraordinary.
In the top 7th Kelenic tied the game at 1 with a solo home run, his 14th of the season; that is only the 15th HR Ohtani has given up this season. Shohei then struck out Bauers on a foul tip to end the inning, on his 112th pitch clocked at 99mph. It was his 10th strikeout of the game and last pitch he threw at Angel Stadium this year. Ohtani now has a 3.18 ERA.
Here are some of Ohtani’s final numbers at the Big A this season:
Shohei Ohtani started 13 games at Angel Stadium this season. He went undefeated, with a 1.95 ERA.— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) September 26, 2021
He faced 317 batters and gave up 9 HR.
At bat, he had 328 plate appearances and hit 26 HR.
His home ERA is the lowest by an Angels pitcher since Jered Weaver in 2011. Over his last 2 starts, Ohtani struck out 20 and walked none. In both of those games he had no decisions, with 12 total on the year. Not that the pitcher win matters, but in those 12 no decisions, he allowed 2 ER or less in 10 of the starts.
By the start of the 8th, the game became a battle of the bullpens with the Mariners coming out on top. In the top of the 8th, Mitch Hanniger singled, scoring J.P. Crawford from third and the Mariners took a 2-1 lead. With the bases loaded and 1 out, Jake Frayley hit a bases clearing double that Marsh just missed in center field, and the Angels trailed 5-1.
AJ Ramos came in and pitched a scoreless top of the ninth. Then the Halos had one last chance and faced Diego Castillo and he sent them down 1-2-3 on 13 pitches. The offense mustered just 3 hits today, which is decidedly not conducive to scoring runs. In this final home stand they went 2-8, all against teams in their own division. The Angels, now sitting at 74-82, will not have a winning record for the 6th straight season.
Todays loss hurts, missing the playoffs hurts, having a losing record, again, hurts. The teams frustrations have been aired in recent days with the different statements from Maddon, Trout, and today Ohtani (see notes below for his comments). This offseason will be pivotal for the Angels as going into Spring Training their team will already have a healthy Trout, Rendon, and Ohtani, a core of young guys, and their injured pitchers and players back. They have important decisions to make about where to spend and get new players and they have players they need to extend and resign. It is a make or break offseason coming up, and after todays loss, it will be more important than ever. It is up to the organization how bright the future can be.
Angels News and Notes:
- Shohei Ohtani spoke post game and said: “I really like the team. I love the fans. But, more than that, I want to win. I’ll leave it at that.” He said that there are no talks about a contract extension at the moment; there are currently two years after this one until he would be a free agent.
- Ohtani said that he is not certain if he’s going to pitch next Sunday and he’ll take it day by day.