Underneath the glow of Friday night lights, the Halos bullpen pitched their way to a 3-2 victory against the Texas Rangers with Shohei “Shotime” Ohtani (2.97 ERA) throwing a career-high 117 pitches and Raisel Iglesias earning his 30th save of the season.
After experiencing a hit to the wrist last weekend, Ohtani missed his start on Tuesday, causing fans to wonder if #17 was headed for the IL. However, that thought was quickly put to bed when the Angels announced that he would start tonight, and his performance on the mound was all the reassurance that fans needed. You know what they say. The “Sho” must go on, and so he did.
Amid chants of “MVP,” the young star earned his 9th win of the season. Within 117 pitches, Ohtani pitched 2 balls that were over 100 mph. Tonight is the first time he has hit that mark since his start against the Chicago White Sox on April 4.
Ohtani held down the bullpen for 7 innings, giving up 2 runs to Rangers left fielder, Jason Martin, who hit a 2-run HR in the top of the second. Thankfully for Shohei, the bats were alive today, and they provided just enough coverage to keep the game competitive and give Sho the edge he needed on the mound.
The Angels kicked off the night in the 1st inning. Not only were the bats moving, but the base running was an incredible sight to see. David Fletcher was a picture of speed, stealing third base and giving Phil Gosselin a chance to make something happen, and boy, did he take that chance. The Goose was loose on the baseball diamond tonight, bringing Fletcher home with a single, stealing second himself and then making it home off of a Jared Walsh single.
The Halos secured a 2-0 lead early on, but it was Martin’s home run that tied the game in the second inning.
Both Shohei and Rangers pitcher Glenn Otto (1.86 ERA) kept the game scoreless from the 3rd to the 5th inning as both teams tried to rally toward that go-ahead run. The Angels put up a fight in the 5th inning with runners on the corners, but the Halos were left stranded on base. It wasn’t until the 6th inning that the team put themselves back on the map with the lead run.
The kids showed up to play tonight, and their reward was an inning filled with lively bats and a winning run. Jo Adell made it on base with a single right before Brandon Marsh had his first hit of the night — a line drive to right fielder DJ Peters. Adell’s single and Marsh’s double opened the door for catcher Max Stassi who brought home Adell with a single and earned the Angels the lead that would win them the game.
Fans watched in anticipation as the Angels bullpen stayed quiet during the 6th inning. With Ohtani sitting comfortably at 92 pitches, the Angels pitching coaches gave no indication that they were ready to pull him, and the rest was career history for Shohei Ohtani. On his 117th pitch, the young player fielded the ball to get the out at first — a fine reminder that not only does Shohei double as a pitcher and a designated hitter, but he’s also a skilled defensive player who knows how to end innings with smart plays.
Ohtani retired from the mound tonight with a 2.97 ERA, 7 H, 2 R, 2 BB and 8 K.
ICYMI: the MLB home run leader struck out 8 batters tonight pic.twitter.com/LvA8sxE0nr— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) September 4, 2021
Steve Cishek (3.20 ERA) made a brief appearance in the 8th inning, and he managed to keep the Rangers scoreless for Raisel Iglesias (2.66 ERA) who ended the night with his 30th save of the season.
This victory marks a successful kickoff to a 3-game series against the Texas Rangers. The Angels record now sits at 67-68, and they’ll have a chance to improve that record again tomorrow at 6:07 PM when they take on the team for the second time this weekend.