Pitcher lasts just four innings with finger cramps
At the plate, went 1-for-2 with a home run and two RBIs

Pitcher Shohei Ohtani, 29, of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, made up for his early exit due to right hand cramps with a home run at the plate.

Ohtani started and batted second in the Angels’ 2023 Major League Baseball (MLB) World Series game against the Seattle Mariners at Angels Stadium in Anaheim, California, on Thursday (July 4).

Ohtani, who tossed a one-hit shutout in a road game against the Detroit Tigers on March 28, continued his strong start on the mound. He pitched four innings, allowing three hits and one walk while striking out four.

According to MLB.com, Ohtani averaged 98.7 miles per hour on his four-seam fastball for the game. That’s above his season average (96.9 mph). His fastball reached as high as 100.2 miles per hour (161.2 kilometers per hour).

Ohtani put runners on first and third with no outs in the first inning on a single and an error. After getting Eugenio Suarez to fly out to shortstop, Ohtani allowed a stolen base to Julio Rodriguez to put runners on second and third, but he struck out Carl LaRay and got Ty Franks to ground out to third.

After getting out of the second inning with just one hit, Ohtani gave up a walk to J.P. Crawford with one out in the third. But he induced an infield grounder to Rodriguez and then struck out Suarez on a wild pitch.

After allowing a leadoff single to Larey in the top of the fourth, Ohtani induced a walk to Franks and then got Dominic Canzon to fly out to right field.

But Ohtani didn’t make it to the mound in the fifth inning. He was experiencing cramping in his throwing hand and fingers.

After pitching a complete game shutout in the first game of the doubleheader on March 28, Ohtani started the second game as the No. 2 hitter, but was removed in the seventh inning due to back muscle spasms. Against the Chicago White Sox on the 29th, he was unable to finish the game due to leg cramps.

After being removed from the mound early due to cramping again, Ohtani made up for it at the plate, going 2-for-2 with two doubles, a walk, one RBI and two runs scored, including his 40th home run of the season.

After getting things started with a single to right in the first inning, Ohtani drew a walk in the bottom of the fourth.

With the Angels trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Ohtani walked on an intentional walk and stole second base. He then came home on C.J. Cron’s single up the middle to tie the game.

With the bases loaded and no outs in the top of the eighth with his team leading 2-1, Ohtani pulled a fastball from right-handed reliever Isaiah Campbell over the right-center field fence for a solo home run.

It was his first in six games since May 29 against the Toronto Blue Jays.

With his 40th home run of the season, Ohtani took over the MLB lead in home runs. He’s now three behind second-place Matt Olson (Atlanta Braves-37).

However, the Angels were unable to protect the 3-1 lead that Ohtani’s homer gave them and fell 5-3. In the top of the ninth, Carlos Estevez loaded the bases with two walks and a single and gave up a walk-off grand slam to Cade Marlowe.

Despite leaving the game without a win, “Pitcher” Ohtani lowered his ERA from 3.43 to 3.32.

He also increased his big league career strikeout total to 601.

Ohtani struck out 600 batters in just 84 games since his debut. According to ESPN Stats & Info, it was the eighth-fewest games to reach 600 strikeouts ever.

Ohtani finished with a .310 batting average with 40 home runs, 82 RBIs, 14 doubles, and 84 runs scored.

After the game, Angels manager Phil Nevin told MLB.com and other local media, “Ohtani said he felt a cramp in his middle finger. “We’ll check it out, but it’s just a finger, so I’m not too worried about it. There was no problem at all when he was hitting.”

“I felt like I could have pitched another inning or two, but it was 0-0 and I didn’t want to give up any runs. I thought it would be better for the team if I stopped pitching,” he explained.

When asked how he felt about skipping one start, Ohtani said, “It’s not a decision I can make alone,” but added, “But personally, I don’t want to take any days off because every game is important. I’m not the only one who is tired.”

After not trading Ohtani, the Angels bolstered their entire roster at the trade deadline, signaling their intent to make the postseason. The Angels are currently in fourth place in the American League West.

“We’re still in a position to make the postseason,” Ohtani said. Every game is important, 고스톱 comparable to the World Baseball Classic (WBC),” said Ohtani, “and we will work hard again from tomorrow.”

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