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All the losing makes it hard to play with ‘high morale,’ Shohei Ohtani says

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Shohei Otani of the Los Angeles Angels manages the bases after a home run against the Oakland Athletics, his second man in a baseball game, during the seventh inning on Thursday, August 4, 2022, in Anaheim, California. (AP Photo/Jae C , Hong)
The Angels’ Shohei Otani beats the bases after Thursday’s home run against the Oakland Athletics in the seventh inning. (Jae K. Hong/Associated Press)

Shohei Otani hit a first-half home run on opposite field on Thursday, giving Angels early advantage against Oakland Athletics. He hit another solo homer in the seventh inning.

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The Angels hit seven solo home runs and still lost 8-7. It was another defeat in a lost season.

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“It’s hard to stay motivated like that,” Otani said in Japanese when asked if it’s hard to stay motivated because the Angels aren’t playoff contenders.

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This comment came on Wednesday when Otani performed well but was defeated in a 3-1 loss to ‘A’. He also talked about a change in mindset.

“Personally, I have to do a lot of things,” he said. “But my life in baseball will go on for a while, and whatever the circumstances, I would like to be focused on every game.”

The Angels have lost numerous games in which Otani has contributed more than his fair share, whether on the mound or at the plate.

On Wednesday he pitched 5 2/3 innings and struck out seven. He only gave up two earned runs. The Angels lost to the Texas Rangers on July 28, early in which Otani struck out 11 points and gave up two earned runs in six innings.

They lost to the Kansas City Royals on June 21 despite Otani’s eight RBIs.

The list goes on.

Shohei Otani of the Angels is seated next to interim manager Phil Nevin.
Shohei Otani of the Angels (left) sits on the bench next to interim manager Phil Nevin during the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics on Thursday at Angel Stadium. (Jae K. Hong/Associated Press)

Angels (44-61) 24 games out of first place in the American League West and 12 games out of third place in the AL wild card. At the trade deadline on Tuesday, they handed out the starting pitcher. Noah Sindergaardnearer Raizel Iglesias and outfielder Brandon Marsh.

All three became legitimate playoff contenders. “I root for the departed players from the bottom of my heart,” Otani said. “I would like them to be part of good teams, get results and do their best in the postseason.”

In return, the Angels received pitching depth, a great prospect, and a promising young outfielder.

Asked about the psychological impact of the Angels rebuilding for next season on a deadline, Otani said, “Things have changed from when we were winning at the start of the season. That’s why we became sellers. As a team, of course, you can’t keep playing with the high morale you had when you were aiming for the playoffs.

“We’re not in a place where it’s good to just think that if you do what you can do in that one bat or one inning, or get a score against that one batter, add it all up and just win the game. . As a player, it’s pretty hard to accept that the chances of a win playing a role in making it to the playoffs are slim. But I think I would like to do what I have to do, the best I can.”

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.


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