Why Shohei Ohtani described his latest 10-strikeout start as ‘average’

Mickey Moniak drops a catch for the Angels.
Angels left fielder Mickey Moniak drops a fly ball hit by Garrett Cooper during the 10th inning of the Angels’ 8-5 loss Saturday to the Miami Marlins. Moniak was charged with an error on the play.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)
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After the dust settled on Shohei Ohtani’s start against the Miami Marlins on Saturday at Angel Stadium, his final line depicted another commanding, six-inning outing. Yet, the two-way star assessed it as unexceptional.

“Not good, not bad, just average overall,” Ohtani said after the Angels’ 8-5 loss in 10 innings to the Marlins. “I was able to get through six, so that was good, but I felt like I could have prevented some of those runs.”

The Angels did not lose because of Ohtani. That happened in the 10th inning, when four Marlins scored with Jaime Barría on the mound, although he didn’t give up an earned run. The Marlins took the lead when Angels left fielder Mickey Moniak dropped a fly ball by pinch-hitter Garrett Cooper that was ruled an error, scoring Luis Arráez. Miami scored another run after a video review determined catcher Matt Thaiss failed to tag the plate on a force out, botching an inning-ending double play. The Marlins scored two more on a single by Garrett Hampson.


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“I think it was a play that I messed up,” Moniak said. “I think that I make that play nine times out of 10. Unfortunately it happened to be in the 10th inning, an extra-inning game, cost us a few runs, and I take full blame for that one. I think that loss falls on me.”

Saturday’s game began with an Ohtani throwing error.

Marlins outfielder Jonathan Davis hit a grounder, which bounced high near the mound. Ohtani turned, raised his glove, hopped up and caught it on his backhand, then turned again to throw to Jared Walsh at first. Except the throw was off, the ball bouncing in the dirt ahead of Walsh and deflecting off his glove. The ball bounced into foul territory in right field. Ohtani frowned slightly, then pursed his lips.

Davis reached second base on Ohtani’s throwing error, later scoring the Marlins’ first run on Yuli Gurriel’s single.

“It’s never good to get the lead-off guy on base, especially on the walk, so I would like to limit that,” Ohtani said.

Miami's Yuli Gurriel runs to score.
Miami’s Yuli Gurriel scores after Angels catcher Matt Thaiss failed to tag home plate while attempting to turn a double play in the 10th inning. Gurriel was initially ruled out until the call was overturned after video review.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Ohtani’s only earned run happened in the top of the fifth inning, on an RBI single hit by Arráez.


“I thought he was good,” Angels manager Phil Nevin said of Ohtani. “Uncharacteristic, threw the ball away in the first inning. ... Thought he rebounded and he threw the ball really well.”

Ohtani struck out 10, allowed six hits and walked three over 109 pitches. Ohtani capped his start by striking out Jacob Stallings on an 84-mph sweeper.

Ohtani’s earned-run average improved to 2.91, with his opponent batting average still an MLB-leading .155. At the plate, Ohtani went hitless with a walk and a stolen base.

Shohei Ohtani reacts after a ball was called on one of his pitches.
Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani gave up six hits, an earned run, walked three and struck out 10 over six innings against the Marlins.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Jared Walsh, Gio Urshela, Thaiss and Drury helped power the Angels’ offense, with Urshela tying the game on a solo home run in the eighth inning.

Reliever Chase Silseth gave up the Angels’ lead in the seventh on a two-run home run hit by Jorge Soler. Silseth also started the eighth inning but was pulled after walking the first two batters. Chris Devenski came in and stranded both of the inherited runners. Carlos Estévez pitched the ninth, striking out the three batters he faced.


Adding to Saturday’s chaos, the Angels revealed their bullpen had taken another hit. Matt Moore, who has been one of the Angels’ better relievers, hurt his right oblique while playing catch before Friday’s game. Nevin said he would be heading to the injured list, with pitching prospect Ben Joyce set to be called up Sunday.

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Rendon update

Anthony Rendon (groin) has had light progressions, swinging a bat in the indoor cages and, mostly recently, running in the outfield. He is not running at full speed, but that he has reached this point is important.

“Him being able to get to that level now,” Nevin said. “Kind of, the thing that bothered it the most was straightforward running, is what he was saying, so — and he’s able to get through that now. So, like what we see.”