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OC Register: Shohei Ohtani walks 4 times in Angels’ loss as Mariners avoid slugger

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ANAHEIM — Shohei Ohtani stepped to the plate in the seventh and ninth innings representing the tying run as Angel Stadium came to life.

Both times, Ohtani walked.

The Angels never were able to push home that tying run and they lost, 6-5, to the Seattle Mariners on Friday night, while Ohtani continues his frustrating walk-a-thon.

Ohtani walked four times, becoming the first player since Barry Bonds in 2003 to draw at least three walks in three consecutive games. He’s drawn a total of 11 walks, including four intentional free passes, in those games.

He was intentionally walked with the bases empty in a one-run game in the ninth, and Phil Gosselin put the Angels in great shape to capitalize when he followed with a double. Jared Walsh was then intentionally walked to load the bases, but Jack Mayfield struck out and Jose Rojas grounded out to end it.

“That’s what’s gonna happen,” Manager Joe Maddon said of the walks to Ohtani. “That team’s in a playoff hunt and they’re not going to permit him to beat him. When we get back to full complement (of players) it’ll be different, but until that happens, that’s going to be the case, unless the (opponent) is not in the playoffs.”

With the Angels out of playoff contention and Ohtani as the main player of interest, it’s obviously disappointing for fans when teams refuse to throw him strikes.

The recent increase in walks is probably less about opponents throwing him fewer strikes and more about Ohtani finally letting them go.

“I love that he’s taking the walks,” Maddon said before the game. “It’s much better than swinging at bad pitches, striking out, making bad outs. He can contribute in other ways, just by scoring runs getting on base, stealing bases. He needs to do that.”

Ohtani has been without protection in the lineup for much of the season, without Mike Trout or Anthony Rendon to hit behind him. Walsh, who was an All-Star, could hit behind Ohtani, but Maddon has been reluctant to stack left-handed hitters together like that.

Because Maddon lately has put Brandon Marsh ahead of Ohtani in the leadoff spot, if he put Walsh behind Ohtani that would be three straight lefties.

Right-handed hitting Gosselin has hit behind Ohtani lately.

“I’m not denigrating Goose by any means; Goose has done a wonderful job in this role,” Maddon said. “But if you’re on the other side, and you see how we stack up after (Ohtani), you’re not going to pitch to him.  And that’s what’s going on.”

The Angels trailed 6-4 in the seventh when Brandon Marsh led off with a single, bringing Ohtani to the plate representing the tying run.

Left-hander Anthony Misiewicz threw him five consecutive curveballs. Only one was even close to the strike zone, and Ohtani fouled it off.

After the walk, the Angels still managed to get one run, on a two-out hit by Jack Mayfield, but it wasn’t enough to tie the score.

They couldn’t capitalize in the ninth either, although the bottom half of the Angels order had been productive.

Mayfield, who hit fifth, had two hits. Rojas had a double and an 11-pitch walk to set up the Angels’ two-run sixth. No. 7 hitter Max Stassi hit a two-run homer, his 12th of the season, and he drove in a run with a single. Stassi started the season as one of the best offensive catchers in baseball, but he had been slumping throughout most of the second half.

The Angels offense took José Suarez off the hook for a loss on a night that he was charged with four runs in five-plus innings.

Suarez has not allowed more than four earned runs in any start this year, allowing him to maintain a solid 3.86 ERA. He allowed five or more in six of his 21 big league games before this season.

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9 hours ago, ScottT said:

It's interesting... because it's not like he's been hitting well.

Can't wait for next year.   

Over his last 30 games, he is slashing .184/.370/.337/.707. I hope this is just a slump (or being massively pitched around) and not more indicative of his true talent level. 

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28 minutes ago, Lou said:

lol as if batting Mayfield would make one iota of difference.

I’d say .750 vs .636 over 200+ at bats is quite a difference in OPS.

Would Ohtani still be walking a lot lately?   Probably 

At least someone (Mayfield) would be hitting right after him, who hasn’t sucked since the ASB.

Edited by Angel Oracle
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