Los Angeles Angels’ superstar Shohei Ohtani’s pitching status for the rest of the season was up in the air just a few days ago due to a sore right arm, but made a triumphant return to the mound on Sunday to strikeout 10 in the Angels loss to the Oakland Athletics.
Ohtani’s 10 strikeouts matched his season high, turning in 8 strong innings in the opener of the team’s final homestand allowing two runs and five hits with three walks. It was the first time that Ohtani reached double-digit strikeouts since June 4th.
“He has a great feel for what he’s doing out there and makes adjustments constantly,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said (h/t ESPN News). “But the biggest difference from when I saw him first last year to now is overall command of his pitches — all of them, but primarily the fastball.”
Ohtani is 9-2 with a 3.28 ERA and 146 strikeouts in 123 ⅓ innings this season.
“I need to keep on throwing, and every time I throw I learn something and I’m getting better,” Ohtani said through an interpreter. “I want to be pitching next year and beyond so this whole experience from this year is going to help me down the road.
“It’s been hard to keep the motivation up being out of the playoff race like this,” he said.