Angels confident Ohtani will ‘start doing shohei-esque things’ despite preseason struggles – The Athletic

ARLINGTON, Texas — Shohei Ohtani rolled his head back, seemingly to look at the ball in the catcher’s glove. Then he went back to the dugout for the second of the seventh inning and shook his head. For a moment he might have seemed dissatisfied with the third shot called.

But looking back after the game, the frustration was more his own. The field he let sneak past him was a fastball right down the middle — identical to the two shot earlier in the count, where he also didn’t pull the trigger.

And that at-bat was similar to his performance on the first inning plate where the MVP batter saw all three shots zoom past him.

“I noticed that I’m shooting over the strike zone, which I shouldn’t,” said Ohtani after the Angels’ 10-5 defeat on Thursday evening. “It’s probably just a sign that I’m not quite there yet.”

It’s been a tough start to the season for a player who, when he’s at his best, is undoubtedly the best in the game. Ohtani is 5-for-29 and has only one walk but 10 strikeouts.

On the mound, Ohtani allowed six earned runs in 3 2/3 innings. That included the first home run he was ever allowed on his splitter. Even more surprising was when Rangers’ No. 9 hitter Jonah Heim hit that home run 0-2. It was also a grand slam.

It’s only been seven games for Ohtani and the Angels so far. And there’s no fear Ohtani will fall back from last year’s historic 46-run, 3.18 ERA season that ended in American League MVP honors.

“He’s going to be fine,” manager Joe Maddon said. “I’m just telling you that he’s fine. His swing looks good. Angels confident Ohtani will ‘start doing shohei-esque things’ despite preseason struggles – The Athletic

Olly Dawes

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