Los Angeles Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani showed some improvement in his second start of the 2020 MLB season, but that’s not saying much. Ohtani was pulled after just 1 2/3 innings Sunday after giving up two runs and five walks to the Houston Astros.
It was yet another disappointing start for Ohtani, who gave up five runs and failed to record an out in his first start of the season.
Things looked much more promising in the first inning Sunday. Ohtani started the game by striking out George Springer. He managed to get Jose Altuve to pop out on a bunt attempt and Alex Bregman to line out to end the inning.
But things fell apart in the second inning. Ohtani walked Michael Brantley to open the frame. During the next at-bat, Ohtani threw a wild pitch that put Brantley on second, and Ohtani then walked Yulieski Gurriel and Josh Reddick to load the bases.
Ohtani briefly recovered after that, striking out Kyle Tucker and Jack Mayfield, but couldn’t keep up that momentum. Ohtani followed up those strikeouts by walking both Dustin Garneau and Springer before he was pulled from the game. Ohtani threw 50 pitches in the start.
Following his second start, Ohtani, 26, has now allowed seven earned runs and eight walks in just 1 2/3 innings. He has a 37.80 ERA.
Shohei Ohtani is coming back from Tommy John surgery
Big things were expected of Ohtani in his first season back on the mound following Tommy John surgery. Ohtani made it just 10 starts into his pitching career before undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2018. Coming into 2020, Ohtani had a career 3.31 ERA.
While Ohtani played in 2019, he was used only as a hitter. He hit .286/.343/.505 with 18 home runs last season.
With Ohtani cleared to both pitch and hit in 2020, big things were expected of the two-way standout. He hasn’t gotten off to a strong start. On top of his ERA, Ohtani is hitting just .148 through six games.
There’s still time for Shohei Ohtani to produce
While Ohtani’s slow start is worrisome, there’s still time for him to get back on track. Two starts and 28 plate appearances mean more in the 60-game season, but it’s still an incredibly small sample size overall. In his limited time in the majors, Ohtani has shown the ability to be better on both ends.
Ohtani’s struggles may be frustrating, but there’s still plenty of time for him to emerge as a two-way superstar this season.
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