One day after dealing with him successfully as a hitter, the Oakland Athletics will get the opportunity to see Shohei Ohtani as a pitcher when they host the Los Angeles Angels for the second tilt of a four-game series on Friday night.
In what was supposed to be a showdown between staff aces between American League West teams, A’s right-hander Chris Bassitt allowed just two hits in a 5-0 win for his first shutout and complete game of his career.
Ohtani had to be scratched as the Angels’ starting pitcher because of a traffic accident on the San Francisco Bay Bridge that caused the Angels’ second bus — the one carrying Ohtani — to be rerouted to a San Francisco BART station.
The delay didn’t affect much other than preventing Ohtani (1-0, 2.37 ERA) from arriving at the stadium in time for his normal leisurely paced pregame routine.
After the game, the Angels announced that Ohtani would get the start on Friday against Oakland left-hander Sean Manaea (3-2, 4.17).
During his postgame press conference, A’s manager Bob Melvin, who grew up just south of San Francisco, seemed mildly surprised by Ohtani’s Friday night start but not surprised at all about the reason for the postponement.
“Have they announced that?” he wondered aloud when informed that Ohtani was being announced as Friday’s probable starter. “I’ve been in plenty of traffic jams here.”
Calling it “unavoidable” and “just a transportation issue,” Angels manager Joe Maddon didn’t hesitate to quickly reschedule Ohtani.
“Shohei’s pretty much regimented to get everything going about 4 o’clock for his start,” Maddon said Friday night’s game. “It exceeded that by maybe an hour, so we started calling the audible at that point.”
Ohtani went 0-for-3 with a walk. He had a chance to end Bassitt’s shutout bid in the ninth after a one-out double by Justin Upton, but he flied out.
The right-hander has faced the A’s three times in his career, putting up a 2-1 record with a 5.54 ERA. He’s pitched 13 innings against Oakland and struck out 18.
It’s unknown if Ohtani will also bat in the game. He’s both hit and pitched in four previous starts, homering in one of them.
Ohtani, a left-handed hitter, has not hit well against lefty pitchers this season, posting a .208 average with four home runs and nine RBIs. Against right-handers, he’s hit .298 with 11 homers and 29 RBIs.
He’s batted just twice in his career against Manaea, going 0-for-1 with a walk.
Manaea worked five strong innings in a 6-5 road loss against the Angels last week. He allowed just one of the six runs and did not get a decision.
The 29-year-old has started 11 games in his career against the Angels, going 2-4 with a 4.82 ERA.
The A’s will take a two-game win streak into the contest. The Angels had a three-game winning run halted by Bassitt’s gem.
–Field Level Media