Shohei Ohtani did not have a good spring training. He struggled on the mound whenever he wasn’t striking out batters, with the spring mostly acting as an adjustment period for the different, slicker baseballs of Major League Baseball compared to Ohtani’s previous league, Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan.
His first start that actually counts came on Sunday, and this was one was good. It wasn’t great, it wasn’t bad: it was good. Ohtani logged a Quality Start, giving up three runs over six innings while striking out six. He allowed one walk and one homer to the Oakland A’s, which, after a spring that saw him do much worse than that, was a comfort. A small one, but, hey, the timing is right.
Ohtani could very well be a serious starter for the Angels in 2018, but it’s worth remembering that this is a transition year for him. On top of having to be a lineup regular and be a starter, Ohtani is also playing in his first season in MLB, his first season with these teammates, in this city, with these baseballs, and these opponents. If there’s an adjustment period in his performance, no one should be surprised. But that’s exactly what makes him not falling on his face in his first start of the year feel promising.
There will be other starts for Ohtani, and they could be great, they could be bad, or they could be good. Each time they aren’t bad, though, especially early on, it’s going to feel like a victory whether the Angels actually pick up the W or not.
- Michael Baumann went in deep on Ohtani’s start, if you’re craving more from his debut.
- The Phillies received a formal warning from MLB about the way they conducted a pitching change Saturday.
- Dee Gordon seems to be acclimating to the outfield well.
- Over at Baseball Prospectus, they tried to figure out if a good or bad April means more than similar performances in other months.
- Jack Moore looked at the evolution of the kind of people who become baseball owners.
- A Reds fan yelled “overrated” at Bryce Harper right before Harper went deep for the second time in the game. Owned by homer, a fate we’re all destined to experience in some form or another.
- The Yankees’ home opener was postponed until Tuesday thanks to the snow falling over New York right now.
- The Braves are going to get some reinforcements on Monday, as they’ll call up Anibal Sanchez and Carlos Perez. Please note that “reinforcements” there is not meant as an endorsement of Anibal Sanchez in 2018.