ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shohei Ohtani struggled through two innings of his highly anticipated start against the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night and was ultimately removed because he developed a blister on his pitching hand, according to an in-game announcement from the Los Angeles Angels.
Following the team’s 10-1 loss, Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said he is hopeful that Ohtani will make his next scheduled start, which is still undetermined, and added that the blister will not affect his ability to hit.
Prior to exiting, Ohtani gave up three runs and required 66 pitches to record the first six outs in front of a sold-out Angel Stadium crowd.
Ohtani, who had surrendered only three runs in the first 13 innings of his major league career, began the game by giving up a leadoff homer to Mookie Betts. He ended up allowing four hits and two walks, throwing only 52 percent of his pitches for strikes and generating just three swings and misses.
“The blister actually developed in my last start,” Ohtani said through an interpreter after the game. “The medical people took a look at it, and they felt like it would be fine for today. I also felt the same way. I tried to pitch today, and the high intensity of the game, it didn’t hold up too well. The medical staff was looking at it. They just wanted to play it safe. I wanted to go back out, but they told me you should take it safe.”
Ohtani took the mound on eight days’ rest because his Sunday start against the Kansas City Royals was postponed due to frigid weather.
“He didn’t say anything in warm-ups about it, and it seemed like it had an effect on some of his command. He got through two innings, but we don’t want it to get any worse. Just make sure you bounce back for his next start, which we anticipate right now,” Scioscia said.
With a win, Ohtani would have become the first player in major league history to win three games as a pitcher and hit three home runs by the end of April, according to research from the Elias Sports Bureau. Instead, the two-way Japanese phenom never gained command of his splitter and didn’t have much of a chance against the high-powered Red Sox.
Ohtani spiked five pitches in the first inning, one of which bounced about five feet in front of home plate and resulted in a wild pitch. He began the second inning with two high sliders that backed up Eduardo Nunez, then allowed each of the next four batters to reach base.
“My splitter, I didn’t have good command of that. My fastball, I didn’t feel off my fingertips. Same with my slider,” Ohtani said.
The Angels (13-4) and Red Sox (14-2) entered as the two leaders in run differential, respectively. But the Red Sox pulled away early, adding another five runs in the third inning against Luke Bard.
Ohtani threw just 34 percent of his off-speed pitches for strikes, down from 68 percent in his first two starts, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Sixty-two percent of his off-speed pitches were non-competitive pitches, which means they were more than 18 inches from the center of the strike zone. That number was only 26 percent in his first two starts.