Angels 8, Royals 1
Shohei Ohtani had drawn six walks over the past two games. On Tuesday, he came to hack.
The game had settled into a nice cadence before the Angels even came up to bat. José Mota had play-by-play duties, and he was joined by Mark Gubicza and Garret Anderson in the booth. The trio seemed rather frenetic at times in the first inning, but they slowly settled into a nice rhythm, and it was nice to hear them have conversations about baseball while keeping viewers updated on the score, Mota alternating between the past and the present with ease.
It may be with only slight exaggeration that Angels fans enjoyed GA on the broadcast.
It was with that pleasant backdrop, then, when Shohei Ohtani stepped up to the plate and demolished a baseball.
It’s pretty clear that Ohtani has evolved in the past calendar year as a hitter, and his timing is now impeccable. He’s run into some trouble over the past few weeks (I think, perhaps, ever since Ohtani got rung up on a pitch outside the strike zone by Angel Hernandez, which warped his baseball sensibilities), but right now, Ohtani has me in the mindset that he’s going to crush the baseball every time he steps up to the plate. Which he did his second time up as well.
Max Stassi, José Iglesias, Justin Upton, and Taylor Ward later joined the home run brigade.
In the case of Stassi, I struggle to name more than about seven or eight catchers in the league I would rather be my backstop than Stassi. If Kurt Suzuki is Ohtani’s personal catcher, I would really appreciate it if Stassi was in the lineup for all other games than the night-day combinations (this Saturday-Sunday in Arizona is two day games, so perhaps Stassi might be able to catch both?).
Justin Upton continues to rake in the leadoff spot, as I look on with a bemused expression.
Meanwhile, Andrew Heaney was on the bump, and he was just pumping out fastballs. Jeff Fletcher pointed out that Heaney increased his fastball usage today. Of Heaney’s 109 pitches, 82 of them were fastballs, as he was just pumping them. It was a good, lively fastball today as well, averaging 92.5 mph, hitting 95 at times, and he got 18 whiffs on 47 swings.
Heaney got through 6.2 innings, striking out seven, walking two, and allowing just one run. It was an impressive performance for an Angels squad that basically needs all the wins it can get at the moment.
Jake Brentz balked in the seventh inning, which is entirely not noteworthy save for the fact that it is my friend’s favorite thing in the world and it has happened in back-to-back games.
Man, though. Shohei Ohtani. He’s an Angel. Wow.
And definitely bring GA back onto the broadcast.
Title Picture from MLB Video