Shohei Ohtani was once again a tough out for the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday. He’ll be a dual threat in the second contest of a three-game series.
Ohtani will start on the mound for the visiting Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday. He batted leadoff and reached base four times in the Angels’ 8-2 win on Tuesday.
Ohtani blasted four home runs against the Tigers during a four-game series in June.
On Tuesday, Jo Adell hit a tiebreaking grand slam in a six-run ninth in the series opener. The Angels had 12 hits and drew nine walks.
“I looked up at the end and when Ohtani came up, it was his sixth at-bat,” Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said. “When the leadoff guy gets a sixth at-bat, a lot has gone wrong, especially in a game that was 2-2 all the way up until that last inning. Obviously, an ugly end to a frustrating night.”
Ohtani has been sharp on the mound since the All-Star break, going 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA in four starts. Including his last outing prior to the break, he has recorded five consecutive quality starts.
Ohtani (7-1, 2.93 ERA) limited the Toronto Blue Jays to two runs on three hits in six innings on Thursday. He also leads the major leagues with 39 homers.
“I still haven’t hit my potential yet,” he said through his translator. “I think I have room to still get better going forward.”
He already has a win over Detroit this season. On June 17, he held the Tigers to one run on five hits in six innings.
“You’re seeing him being so successful because there’s a true joy for what he’s doing,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said.
Ohtani was caught up in a bit of controversy not of his making Tuesday night. Tigers television analyst Jack Morris, a Hall of Famer for his pitching career, used a mocking accent when discussing Ohtani in the sixth inning. Morris issued an apology in the ninth inning.
The ninth inning also featured Adell’s first home run since being called up from Triple-A Salt Lake on Aug. 2. Adell hit 23 homers in the minors this season.
He blasted three home runs for the Angels in 38 games last season but batted just .161.
“I told myself, when I come back, just try to be a factor in the lineup, try to contribute and keep moving,” he said.
Adell received a tip from Angels’ injured slugger Mike Trout prior to the series opener.
“Before the game, me and Trout had a conversation and he was talking to me about just staying on the fastball and not trying to look for anything else,” Adell said in a postgame TV interview. “In the last at-bat, it came off the bat and I just turned to the dugout and looked right at him, so it was pretty electric.”
Detroit’s starter on Wednesday, Tarik Skubal (8-10, 4.10), has not given up a run in two August starts. He held the Boston Red Sox to five hits in five innings on Aug. 5, then blanked the Baltimore Orioles on five hits over six innings on Aug. 11.
“He impressed me (Aug. 11) in a lot of ways,” Hinch said. “It was a hot night, there was a (rain) delay — not an easy night to pitch. And he had no room for error with (Orioles starter Matt) Harvey and him matching zero for zero. He hung in and got some big outs.”
Detroit’s top catcher, Eric Haase, sat out the Tuesday game due to back tightness. He won’t play on Wednesday, according to Hinch.
–Field Level Media