There’s a composure that comes with everyone Shohei Otani pitching day.
No hasty innings, no hasty sequences. When he needs to take a deep breath, he takes it. When he needs more time between steps, he steps, if only for a moment. If he throws an unwanted pitch, he moves on.
On Wednesday, he had several unwanted transfers that resulted in Oakland Athletics get two earned wounds from him (three wounds in total).
Angels lost 3-1, another game that lacked adequate running support anywhere. The Angels’ offense scattered six hits, one in 10 overall with runners in scoring position, leaving eight men on base.
Otani landed 5 2/3 seven-hit baseball innings, including those that got through, on a good night (0 of 3) at the plate, himself. He was also pulled from behind by a hitter in the seventh inning. He started with his typical team, throwing the first two innings without giving up a single shot. In the third he only lost one single, and in the fourth he hiccupped.
Otani began to look like he was running out of steam, despite the fact that by that point he had not yet made 50 throws. The fourth started with his lead batter, Ramón Laureano, reaching for Luis Rengifo’s throwing error from third base.
Otani threw a wild pitch to his next batter, Shaun Murphy, who fell into the dirt, quickly rolling away from catcher Max Stussy to the floor, allowing Laureano to advance to second base. This at-bat ended with Murphy hitting the Grounder, who rolled too far to the right of David Fletcher and into right field, allowing Laureano to score.
He went through the fifth inning mostly unscathed, pointing out left fielder Magneris Sierra and Rengifo – after Sierra picked up a hard-hitting grounder who rolled into the outfield and threw the ball to Rengifo for the final out of the inning at third base.
The sixth was the most expensive for Otani. Laureano again managed to hit a single hit, and Murphy followed it up with a double home run right into the visitors’ bullpen over the left field wall. While Laureano and Murphy ran around the bases, Otani didn’t miss.
He bent down to straighten his pants, spun around to receive the next baseball from home court umpire Nestor Sehi, returned to the mound where he stood and stared outfield, then turned again to face his next batter.
Otani failed to get past the sixth inning. Usually, when he knows that he has the last dough, he will empty the tank and take out this last dough. On Wednesday, he failed, and after giving up a single to his last batter on his 99th pitch of the game, interim manager Phil Nevin came out to take the ball from him.
Otani approached the dugout to applause.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.