As the Los Angeles Angels continue their second-half surge, they’re evolving the hotly debated ‘Ohtani trade’ issue.
Desperation is a good word for it.
The Angels defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-5 at home at Angels Stadium on the 22nd to extend their winning streak to four games.
With a 5-2 record in their last seven games, the Angels remain in third place in the AL West with a 50-48 record and the sixth wild card spot. They are eight games back of the division-leading Texas Rangers, but four games back of the third wild card, the Toronto Blue Jays. Fangraphs raised the Angels’ playoff chances to 15.0 per cent. That number has more than doubled in the last five days after falling to 6.9 per cent on the 17th.
Shohei Ohtani started the game for the Angels. However, he gave up five runs on four home runs in 6⅓ innings. It was his third consecutive poor outing, following five innings of five runs on seven hits against the San Diego Padres on 5 May and five runs on five hits against the Houston Astros on 15 May. His ERA, which was 3.03 at the end of June, has ballooned to 3.71.
Local reports suggest that Ohtani is still recovering from a blister on his right middle finger and a nail problem. Ohtani chipped a nail on his middle finger against the Chicago White Sox on 28 March and developed a blister on 5 March against San Diego. The theory is that he was unable to throw the ball fully due to the stoppage for four consecutive games.
His fastball was still averaging 96.8 mph, below 97 mph. The sharpness of his sweeper and cutter was also missing. Of the four home runs, two came from cutters and one each from sweepers and fastballs. This is the first time Ohtani has ever given up four home runs in a game in MLB, let alone NPB.
“Ohtani’s three-game absence was due to a blister and nail issue,” MLB.com reported. He still doesn’t appear to be fully healed, which could be a concern for Ohtani’s future.
Regardless, the Angels won the game with Ohtani on the mound, extending their winning streak and keeping their playoff hopes alive for the time being. One could even argue that the Angels shouldn’t trade Ohtani, but rather add to their bullpen. It’s possible that the A’s could change their stance and become a buyer instead of a seller.
Regardless of the possibilities, the Angels still have a tall mountain to climb in autumn baseball. MLB.com writes, “With a crucial win, the Angels could be relieved they won’t have to trade Ohtani and instead become buyers heading into the trade deadline,” but also notes, “If the Angels stumble again next week and fail to make a move, it could be Ohtani’s last time starting a home game for the Angels.토스카지노
The Angels conclude their home series against Pittsburgh on 23-24 July before heading out on a nine-game road trip from 26 July to 3 August. The trade deadline is 2 August.
For that reason, the 40,309 fans in attendance at Angels Stadium chanted “M-V-P!” every time Ohtani stepped up to the plate and when he was pulled in the bottom of the seventh inning. The question of how long Ohtani will be wearing the Angels’ uniform will be on everyone’s lips until the end of the month.