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Shohei Ohtani strikes out 11 as Angels defeat White Sox

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Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Otani reacts after he eliminated Josh Harrison from the Chicago White Sox to complete the fourth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, June 29, 2022, in Anaheim, California. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong )
Angels pitcher Shohei Otani reacts after he eliminated Josh Harrison from the Chicago White Sox to finish the fourth inning on Wednesday at Angel Stadium. (Jae K. Hong/Associated Press)

Shohei Otanibeing on the mound almost certainly means that something incredible will happen to it. Angels. With his 11 strikeout play on Wednesday, he gave another dominant start to a team in need of all the good it can get.

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According to ESPN statistics and information, Otani joined an elite group of pitchers, becoming the third in Angels history to hit 30 batters and not give up in three starts. The other two are Nolan Ryan and John Lackey. His zero streak reached 21 2/3 innings in a row. And all this in addition to his constant brilliance in the plate, although he did not receive a hit this night in Angels win 4:1. above Chicago White Sox take two of the three games in the series.

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“No. I had to not give up on the first try,” Otani said after the game. “Because my team had early runs, we were able to progress with good flow. From there, the key was to hold on until we added more runs.” .

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“I’ve never taken a mound thinking, ‘This is hard.’ Whatever the situation, what I do remains the same,” he added. “I always think I can’t let the other team score first.”

The White Sox increased Otani’s innings early, forcing him to go 79 innings before he could get a 9th in the fifth inning. However, he persevered, winning 52/3 innings against the White Sox, giving up five hits and one walk in 108 fields, 74 of which were strikes.

In the first inning, White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson and first baseman Jose Abreu worked singles with Otani. But the movement on the bases didn’t go past second base, as Otani got all three of his outs on swinging outs.

He went through the second and third innings, causing easy outs and adding three more outs to his total. The fourth inning was when he ran into trouble

The first batter of the inning, Louis Robert, hit a grounder on the third base line. Tyler Wade made a jump stop, but was unable to get ahead of Robert with his throw. Abreu received another single from Otani before he could come out first of the half. The second out, A. J. Pollock’s, helped calm Otani, but then he passed Leuri Garcia to load the bases. Otani made sure his next batter, Josh Harrison, was his last of the fourths and he hit his eighth out.

He went through the fifth inning before that count began to weigh on him. He struggled to get just two strikeouts in the sixth, coming off the mound and talking to catcher Max Stussy to get a few minutes of rest between batters. When he finally got the number 11, he looked like he knew it was all he had left.

Towards the end of the walk, he grabbed him by the back, but told him that he was fine and wanted to “flip the switch and do his best the day after tomorrow”.

“I wanted to pitch in the sixth inning, but they have a solid lineup and my innings were a little high,” Otani said.

He stepped off the embankment into a dugout to the applause of a crowd of 27,612.

“He just keeps coming out and… takes these games very seriously because he knows what’s at stake and he’s shown it again,” interim manager Ray Montgomery said of Otani.

Otani took charge of his high score.

“I think you might look at it as [the manager] was patient and allowed me to face another test,” Otani said. “That was what I did by letting my inning meter increase.”

With the Angels leading the first inning, the team was also able to take a 2-0 lead. Taylor Ward, who reached the singles, was taken home by a double from Mike Trout in the next match. Otani worked on foot to get to base, then Jared Walsh’s forward allowed Trout to score after an onfield error by Chicago Chicago starter Michael Kopech.

The Angels made it 4-0 on Luis Rengifo’s two-run home run in the sixth inning.

What are the chances?

The season of the Angels went so bad so fast.

They were going strong in May, posting a 27-17 record with a significant playoff chance. In 14 games, those odds have gone from high (77%, according to FanGraphs) to unlikely (22%) since the last loss of this record-breaking slump.

Before Wednesday’s final three-game game with the Chicago White Sox, the Angels had a 15% chance of making the playoffs after the losing streak ended 9–10.

With 36-41 until Wednesday and the upcoming series against division leader Houston, the more pressing question is not whether the Angels will make the playoffs. The question is whether they can finish above .500.

Okay, maybe being a .500 team this season means an extended playoff berth, but that’s another argument.

Technically the Angels have time to catch up. Baseball season isn’t officially half over, but context is everything.

The Angels failed to win their series against the Kansas City Royals, who appeared at Angel Stadium with a 23–42 team. They failed to win their second series of the season with the Seattle Mariners, a team as mediocre as the Angels are still pay off for facing.

They won’t even have their own full coaching staff back to the middle of their four-game streak with the Baltimore Orioles next week, which means seven more games after Wednesday in which they’ll be out of hands in that department.

The Angels have been able to win series against the White Sox, but if they can’t consistently beat teams that statistically should win, then beating the leaders in their division and league becomes a tough task.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.


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