The pre-game hype was all about the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani making his first appearance on the mound since 2018. Those only tuning in to see the two-way Japanese star probably didn’t hang around for long.
Neither did the A’s hitters.
It’s a baseball truism that the game has a habit of humbling even the very best. No one can deny the elite talent that Ohtani possesses, yet he looked completely lost on the mound on Sunday.
Single – Walk – Walk – Walk – Single – Single.
Six batters and that was Ohtani’s lot. The A’s plated four runs and at times during the game, with Matt Andriese pitching 5.1 strong innings in relief and Mike Trout being his annoyingly amazing self, it felt like we might have not made enough of the bright start.
Thankfully, some sterling bullpen work and a Sean Murphy solo shot eased the pressure and saw the A’s taking a 2-1 series lead with a 6-4 victory.
Other things of note
Vimael Machín secretly must have breathed a sigh of relief when Robbie Grossman flied-out to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning. Grounding into a double-play in both of his first two Big League at-bats was not how he would have imagined his MLB debut going. The only way is up.
As for Grossman, he got a couple of singles on Sunday after stealing two bases in a 1-3 Saturday. It’s a positive start for a player who is much-maligned by some within the A’s fanbase.
Note to Mike Fiers: I appreciate the book on Mike Trout is that he doesn’t swing on 3-0, but that still doesn’t make throwing an 88-mph fastball right down the middle a good idea (especially with two base-runners).
Up next …
It’s the series finale and a chance for the A’s to take a 3-1 series win to start this shortened season in style.
It’s perfect for us in the UK too as first pitch is 20:40 and coverage is available on UK TV via BT Sport1.