Shohei Ohtani had another bad start on Sunday for the Los Angeles Angels. For some reason, Joe Maddon continued to let him pitch when he should not have.
Joe Maddon has built a reputation as one of the game’s best managers, turning around the Tampa Bay Rays and later leading the Chicago Cubs to their first title in over a century. He came to the Los Angeles Angels this past offseason, an organization he was previously with for a long time, bringing high expectations with him.
Yet his managing has not come without criticism, particularly in his handling of pitchers. For instance, many felt that he overused Aroldis Chapman during the Cubs’ 2016 World Series Championship run. And then there was this, from Sunday’s action when the Angels were taking on the Houston Astros:
Why did Joe Maddon allow Shohei Ohtani to pitch this much?
Now, Ohtani actually threw 42 pitches in the second inning of Sunday’s game, not 48 as is reported in the above Tweet. Still, that’s a lot of pitches for someone making their second start since returning from Tommy John Surgery. And just like in his first start, when he failed to record an out, Ohtani again struggled, which has led some to wonder whether the Angels should take Ohtani off the mound.
After an uneventful eight-pitch first inning, Ohtani walked three straight to start the second. He struck out the next two, but then walked two more, leading to two runs and Maddon mercifully pulling Ohtani from the game.
Ohtani will now have to undergo an MRI following his latest outing. Commenting on Ohtani not hitting 90 MPH on his last three fastballs, Maddon said, “I thought it was fatigue from where I was standing.” So why the heck was he leaving Ohtani in there so long?
Cubs fans must really be scratching their heads. Yes, there was Chapman in 2016, but Maddon also received a lot of criticism for appearing to have a very short leash with Kyle Hendricks during his time in Chicago.
In any case, Ohtani’s return to the mound has been a complete disaster for the Angels so far this year, and Maddon should never have allowed Ohtani to struggle for so long on the mound. Now, we’ll await word on whether Ohtani will be able to continue pitching this year.