Shohei Ohtani of the Angels and Joe Maddon aren’t concerned about the pitcher’s drop in speed compared to Indians
Shohei Ohtani didn’t quite have his best tips Wednesday against the Indians. The two-way Angels star pitched 4 2/3 innings and allowed just two runs, but his lack of speed made it clear he was not at his peak.
For most of the game, Ohtani’s fastball speed hovered around the low 90s. That day he was averaging 91.3 mph on the court, 5.3 mph more. slower than the 96.6 average he had in the season that kicked off this debut. Ohtani’s fastball didn’t come close to hitting 100mph like he did in other starts, either. In fact, a handful of them made it below 90 mph.
Drops in speed have caused problems for Ohtani in the past. This is in part what led to Tommy John’s surgery he underwent in 2018.
Despite this, neither the angels nor Ohtani are concerned about his speed, and they consider it a day of rest.
“I’m not worried about any injuries,” Ohtani said through an interpreter, by Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times. “I was able to stay in there, get my battles back and play on the pitch.”
“There’s nothing wrong with him,” manager Joe Maddon said. “It wasn’t mechanical and it wasn’t physical. It was just how he felt tonight.”
And as Maddon pointed out, the team were watching Ohtani very closely amid his speed issues. They just couldn’t see anything wrong or different about his performance compared to his last starts.
“Coaches and coaches are looking in the face of grimaces – is he holding back? Is there any pain? Maddon said. “And we couldn’t see anything different between him throwing 97 or what he was doing today. … He walked into the shelter, was very confident, very optimistic.
Maddon added: “It was just one of those days when he didn’t have his normal business.”
This is certainly encouraging news for the angels. They can hardly afford to lose Ohtani to superstar Mike Trout ready to miss 6-8 weeks with a straight calf strain.
As long as Trout is out, Ohtani will have to carry the angels. Whether it’s adding to its 14 top MLB homers or hosting some solid outings on the mound, Los Angeles will rely heavily on baseball’s most exciting player to deliver.