Shohei Ohtani has mixed results in MLB debut
Los Angeles Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani had mixed results in his first MLB game appearance on Saturday.
The 23-year-old Japanese star got the start for the Angels against the Milwaukee Brewers. He played just over an inning, throwing 31 pitches, before Angels manager Mike Sciosia pulled him with the score tied 2-2.
Ohtani struck out the first and the last batter he faced in the first inning, but laboured in between. He fell behind leadoff hitter Jonathan Villar, 3-1, who then smashed a line drive to deep center that bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double.
After striking out the next batter – Nate Orf – on a splitter, Ohtani walked Ji-Man Choi. With clean-up batter Manny Pina up, Ohtani threw a wild pitch in the dirt. Catcher Martin Maldonado's wild throw to second in a bid to catch the advancing Choi allowed a run to score.
Pina fouled out, and Ohtani then struck out Brett Phillips on four pitches to end the inning with 26 pitches.
After lead-off hitter Keon Broxton homered off Ohtani to begin the second inning, the pitcher retired Nick Franklin on a fly out before getting the hook.
Ohtani's final line consisted of two hits, one earned run, two strikeouts, one walk, a wild pitch, and that home run to Broxton.
Of course, the eyes of the baseball world were watching Ohtani — as they will be all season — to see how he adjusts to the American game. The early consensus is that he showed good movement on his pitches, even if some ended outside the strike zone.
Former MLB All-Star pitcher Mark Gubicza, now an Angels analyst, tweeted, "Fun to watch #ShoheiOhtani on the bump!! One unearned run with 2 punch outs!! Velocity, split and curve were solid in his 1st inning pitched! Overthrew a few but wow!! He is legit!"