Share
Live

Shohei Ohtani ‘making a case’ for AL Cy Young Award in addition to MVP

Share
Angels' Shohei Ohtani rounds third base after hitting a solo home run.
(Paul Sancya / Associated Press)

Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani gave up one run over eight innings and hit his 40th home run of the season in a 3-1 win over the Detroit Tigers.

Angels beat Tigers 3-1 as Shohei Ohtani throws eight innings and hits 40th home run

There are times when it’s easy to forget that what Shohei Ohtani is doing is all but unprecedented. And then there are times like Wednesday night.

Ohtani, pitching and hitting leadoff, made one mistake all game. The rest will go down as one of the best individual games played in Major League Baseball this year.

That mistake — a first-pitch curveball that Willi Castro took deep in the fifth inning — accounted for the lone run Ohtani gave up over eight innings. He threw just 90 pitches. He struck out eight. He hit his 40th home run, which leads the majors.

“What could you possibly say that has not already been said?” Angels manager Joe Maddon said after the game.

Even giving up a home run is rare for Ohtani, who came into Wednesday’s start with the second-best home run rate in the American League. But it was also the extent of the scoring Detroit would do against him in an eventual 3-1 win by the Angels that moved them back to .500 at 61-61.

Pitching and leading off, Ohtani extended a stretch that allowed him to come into Wednesday with a 1.69 ERA since the beginning of July. He regularly blew his fastball by hitters at 94 mph, used his splitter to finish guys off — Harold Castro, Renato Nuñez and Miguel Cabrera among them — and held the Tigers’ offense quiet all night.

In addition to the AL MVP, Ohtani might be putting himself on the map for the Cy Young Award.

“Making a case, absolutely,” Maddon said. “He’s in the middle of everything. Every award that’s gonna be given out this year, he’s in the middle of it.”

The pitching performance would have been enough on its own. But Ohtani helped himself by hitting a no-doubt home run 430 feet into right field. Jose Cisnero left a sinker up in the zone and Ohtani, who had been 0 for 3 to that point, turned on it. That the home run came 81 pitches into a night in which Ohtani threw eight innings of one-run baseball, with nobody warming up in the Angels bullpen, just adds to the lore.

“At that point I wasn’t sure if I was gonna go back out or not,” Ohtani said through an interpreter. “I wanted to get that insurance run, it was huge for both me and the team.”

On top of that, the performance came in the wake of a racist comment by Tigers analyst Jack Morris, made toward Ohtani during Tuesday night’s game. Morris was suspended from the Bally Sports Detroit broadcast indefinitely before Wednesday’s game.

“It’s been brought to my attention, and I sincerely apologize if I offended anybody, especially anybody in the Asian community, for what I said about pitching and being careful to Shohei Ohtani,” Morris said during Tuesday’s broadcast. “I did not intend for any offensive thing, and I apologize if I did. I certainly respect and have the utmost respect for this guy.”

Earlier on in that game, Morris said the Tigers should, “be very, very careful,” when pitching to Ohtani in a caricatured Asian accent. Maddon said before the game that Morris hadn’t reached out to the organization to apologize, but he felt the on-air apology was sincere.

“My take on the whole thing is that the Detroit Tigers reacted the way they wanted to,” Maddon said before the game. “And I know Jack and he apologized.”

Ohtani said that he saw the video and wasn’t offended.

“I didn’t take anything personally and I have no say to what the Tigers wanted to do or what they did,” Ohtani said. “He’s a Hall of Famer, he has a big influence in the baseball world. It’s kind of a tough spot.”

Besides the Castro home run, the only real trouble Ohtani faced came in the first inning.

He gave up a single to Jonathan Schoop, then another single to Cabrera. Cleanup hitter Jeimer Candelario came up with a chance to erase the Angels’ two-run lead and hit a fly ball to right that looked as if it could drop. But Jo Adell ran it down, then doubled off Schoop at second.

Fortunately for the Angels, that meant Justin Upton’s first-inning two-run home run was enough offense against Tigers pitcher Tarik Skubal.

Besides that, the Angels never got much going against Skubal, who went 62/3 innings and struck out seven.

But that effort wasn’t anywhere near enough to best Ohtani. The eight innings was a career-high for the two-way star — and as late as the eighth inning, he reached 98 mph on a fastball to strike out Victor Reyes, the second-to-last hitter he faced before Raisel Iglesias came on in the ninth to close out the game.

“I’m never satisfied when I don’t go the distance,” Ohtani said.

Another reminder. There is special. And then there is Ohtani.

Share

Live updates: Angels beat Tigers 3-1

Top 1: The Angels got on the board right away with a two-run Justin Upton home run off Tarik Skubal. After Skubal retired Shohei Ohtani and David Fletcher to start the game, he gave up a single to Phil Gosselin. Then Upton hit a 2-2 fastball 427 feet to left-center field.

End 5: The Tigers got a run back against Ohtani, as Willi Catro sat on a first-pitch curveball and took it into the right-field stands. Besides that mistake, though, it’s been a largely clean night for Ohtani, who has thrown just 55 pitches through five innings.

Top 8: After throwing seven innings of one-run ball, Shohei Ohtani gave himself an insurance run. He hit one 430 feet into the Comerica Park stands, extending the Angels’ lead to 3-1. And yes, it looks like he’ll be coming out to pitch the 8th inning.

End of game, Angels win, 3-1: Shohei Ohtani threw eight shutout innings and hit his 40th home run to carry the Angels to a 3-1 win that puts them back at .500 (61-61). Raisel Iglesias closed the game out, but it was truly a special night for Ohtani, who struck out eight and dominated the game.

Share

No rehab assignment date for Mike Trout

Although Mike Trout worked out prior to the Angels-Tigers game for the second straight day, manager Joe Maddon said that progress has not yet given way to a rehabilitation assignment date.

“We’re still diligently trying or he’s trying to get to the point where we can actually take pencil to paper and fill in some kind of rehab assignment,” Maddon said. “We’re not there yet. But he’s definitely doing all the right things that hopefully get us to that point.”

Trout has been out since mid-May with a calf issue. He was originally supposed to miss six to eight weeks, but that timeline has since been extended.

Share

Patrick Sandoval may be done for the season

The Angels put left-hander Patrick Sandoval on the 10-day injured list with a left lumbar spine stress reaction, calling up pitchers Aaron Slegers and Andrew Wantz while also optioning James Hoyt. Maddon compared Sandoval’s injury to Griffin Canning’s from earlier in the season, saying it’s possible he won’t pitch again this season.

“Had been bothering him a bit after this last start,” Maddon said. “Because of that, obviously more testing was done. … It really came out of nowhere for us.”

As for the starting rotation, Jose Quintana will get the ball on Thursday, making his first start since May 30. Since moving to the bullpen, he has a 3.86 ERA in 16.1 innings pitched.

“Q has done everything we’ve asked him to do,” Maddon said. “We’ve given him some opportunities out of the bullpen. For the most part, he’s done really well.”

Maddon didn’t give a specific pitch count for Quintana on Thursday, saying only that he would watch and see how it plays out.

Share
Advertisement

Jack Morris suspended indefinitely for racist on-air remark about Shohei Ohtani

Bally Sports Detroit broadcaster Jack Morris has been suspended indefinitely from Tigers broadcasts after making an offensive comment regarding Angels star Shohei Ohtani during the Angels’ 8-2 win over the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday.

Morris, a Hall of Fame former pitcher who has been a TV analyst since 2013 and was in his fourth year calling Tigers games, was asked on the broadcast how the Tigers should approach Ohtani as he came to the plate in the sixth inning.

Morris responded, “be very, very careful,” but in an apparent fake Asian accent.

After the clip was shared and ridiculed on social media, Morris made an on-air apology later in the game as Ohtani — who is from Japan — came back to the plate in the top of the ninth.

“It’s been brought to my attention, and I sincerely apologize if I offended anybody, especially anybody in the Asian community, for what I said about pitching and being careful to Shohei Ohtani,” Morris said. “I did not intend for any offensive thing, and I apologize if I did. I certainly respect and have the utmost respect for this guy.”

On Wednesday, Bally Sports Detroit announced that, along with the suspension, Morris “will be undergoing bias training to educate him on the impact of his comments and how he can be a positive influence in a diverse community.”

“We have a zero-tolerance policy for bias or discrimination and deeply apologize for his insensitive remark,” Bally Sports Detroit continued in its statement.

The Tigers also issued a statement, saying they were “deeply disappointed by the comments made by Jack Morris during the broadcast last night. We fully support Bally Sports Detroit’s decision and their ongoing commitment to ensure that all personnel are held to the highest standards of personal conduct.”

Morris, 66, was a five-time All-Star who spent 14 of his 18 major league seasons playing for the Tigers between 1977 and 1990.

Angels manager Joe Maddon said before Wednesday’s game that he felt Morris’s on-air apology was sincere.

“My take on the whole thing is that the Detroit Tigers reacted the way they wanted to,” Maddon said. “And I know Jack and he apologized.”

Morris didn’t reach out to the Angels to apologize, only doing so on the broadcast Tuesday night.

“This sport is arguably the most diverse sport in, certainly, the four major sports here in the U.S.,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch told reporters Wednesday. “And it should be celebrated. The athletes that we get to celebrate tonight — we’re talking about Shohei Ohtani and Miguel Cabrera, two of the biggest names that are coming into the game, both vastly different backgrounds from different countries, different parts of the world, and they’re a part of our great sport.

“So we need to celebrate that and certainly learn that comments like that are not only unnecessary but unwarranted.”

Share

Broadcaster Jack Morris apologizes for offensive comment made regarding Angels’ Shohei Ohtani

Angels' Shohei Ohtani rounds third base on his way to score against the Detroit Tigers.
Angels’ Shohei Ohtani rounds third base on his way to score against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit on Tuesday. Brandon Marsh hit a single on the play.
(Paul Sancya / Associated Press)

Bally Sports Detroit broadcaster Jack Morris apologized Tuesday night for an offensive comment he made regarding Angels star Shohei Ohtani earlier in the night during the Angels’ 8-2 win over the Detroit Tigers.

Morris, a Hall of Fame former pitcher who has been a TV analyst since 2013, was asked on the broadcast how the Tigers should approach Ohtani as he came to the plate in the sixth inning.

Morris responded, “be very, very careful,” but in an apparent fake Asian accent.

After the clip was shared and ridiculed on social media, Morris made an on-air apology as Ohtani — who is from Japan — came back to the plate in the top of the ninth.

“It’s been brought to my attention, and I sincerely apologize if I offended anybody, especially anybody in the Asian community, for what I said about pitching and being careful to Shohei Ohtani,” Morris said. “I did not intend for any offensive thing, and I apologize if I did. I certainly respect and have the utmost respect for this guy.”

Angels manager Joe Maddon was asked about Morris’ comment immediately after the game, but said he hadn’t been made aware of it yet.

Share

Jo Adell hits first grand slam to lift Angels in 8-2 win over Tigers

Jo Adell hit a grand slam.
Jo Adell’s grand slam breaks a ninth-inning tie in the Angels’ win over the Detroit Tigers Tuesday.
(Paul Sancya / Associated Press)
Jo Adell hit a grand slam.
Jo Adell hit a grand slam to break a ninth-inning tie in the Angels’ win over the Detroit Tigers Tuesday.
(Paul Sancya / Associated Press)

Jo Adell watched the ball soar, flung his bat to the side, then pumped his fists as he began to round the bases.

In every baseball career, there are moments big and small that can leave a lasting impact. And on Tuesday night in Detroit, Adell had one to remember, hitting a ninth-inning, tie-breaking grand slam to lift the Angels to a 8-2 win over the Detroit Tigers.

“It was electric,” Adell said. “I can’t even describe it. I kind of blacked out.”

Here are three observations from Tuesday.

Adell’s grand slam

With the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth inning of a tied game, Angels manager Joe Maddon had a decision to make. Adell was due up in a favorable matchup against Tigers left-hander Gregory Soto, but the Angels had some more veteran right-handed bats on the bench too.

Maddon, however, said he never considered pinch-hitting. He wanted Adell to experience the moment. And he couldn’t have been more thrilled with the result — or his process throughout the at-bat.

“He was not in a hurry,” Maddon said. “Watching him from the dugout to on-deck to getting up there, I’m looking at body language as much as anything, and how the guy is reacting to the situation.

“The talent’s there. Now it’s just a matter of him showing up physically, mentally. And he seems to be doing it right now.”

After Soto missed with a first-pitch slider, then snuck a sinker over the inside corner, the Tigers reliever made a mistake, leaving another sinker up and over the middle.

Earlier in the day, Adell said Mike Trout had pulled him aside and told him to be more aggressive on fastballs. So, when Soto left one in Adell’s sweet spot, the 22-year-old slugger didn’t miss, whacking his first career grand slam 416 feet to give the Angels — who tacked on a couple insurance runs later in the inning — the lead.

“This is as exciting as it gets,” Adell said. “A 2-2 ballgame, the top of the ninth inning, to come through like that, that’ll fire you up.”

Bullpen delivers

Starter Dylan Bundy pitched just 4 ⅔ innings, getting an early hook after giving up a double and RBI single in the fifth inning that tied the score at 2-2.

From there, the Angels bullpen was lights out.

Austin Warren pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth, overcoming a walk and a single by inducing an inning-ending flyout. The rookie right-hander then returned for the sixth inning and stranded two more runners to keep the game knotted.

After that, Steve Cishek worked around a walk in the seventh before Mike Mayers struck out the side in the eighth before returning to close out the game in the ninth — a positive sign as the right-hander tries to shake off a midseason slump.

“That was like last year, a lot,” Maddon said of Mayers’ performance. “We could really use that … His confidence has been growing.”

Marsh stays hot

After entering the game on a recent hot streak, Brandon Marsh already had a single and an RBI when he came to the plate in the seventh inning.

Then, on a deep fly ball to right-center, he nearly had his first career home run.

However, Marsh only came away with a double after a fan reached over the wall and dropped the ball. Having originally made it to third base, Marsh was sent back to second on the play, which was upheld after video review.

Still, it marked the latest positive moment for Marsh, who had now recorded multiple hits in four of his past six games. In that stretch, the rookie outfielder has raised his batting average by more than 50 points to .215.

Share

Mike Trout resumes on-field work as calf recovery continues

Mike Trout has been out since May 17 with a calf strain. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
(ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Mike Trout resumed on-field pregame activities on Tuesday in Detroit, Angels manager Joe Maddon said.

Trout has been out since May 17 with a calf strain. Prior to Tuesday, he hadn’t been seen participating in any on-field work since late last month, when he told Maddon he still “felt something” in his calf while running the bases and performing other drills.

Trout ramped down activities after that, but received positive news from doctors that his calf was progressing well — albeit slower than his initial six-to-eight week timeframe.

Tuesday marked exactly three months since Trout’s injury, which he sustained while running the bases in a game.

While there remains no return date for Trout, nor a timeline for how soon he might be able to go out on a minor-league rehab assignment, Maddon said Tuesday’s activities — which included some stretching drills, catch and outfield work — were an encouraging sign.

“Obviously he wouldn’t be out there if he didn’t [feel better],” Maddon said, adding: “Glad he’s out there. This is one of those things, when he does go through these kinds of movements, you got to wait ’til the next day to find out how he feels, and then you plan your next step.”

Share