The Angels and Bundy bounce back on Saturday to hand the A’s a 4-1 loss

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Oakland Athletics were not able to capitalize on their big Friday night extra-inning win on Saturday. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim came out and played the game as if Friday night never happened. In a term every little leaguer knows, “they just flushed it!” and beat the Athletics 4-1.

Dylan Bundy made the difference for LAA

Bundy (1-0) made his debut as an Angel after having been with Baltimore his entire career. As a former number one draft pick, much was expected of Bundy, but many have graded his time as an Oriole as a disappointment. He posted a record of 38-45 in 127 starts with a 4.67 ERA. During most of that time, the Baltimore baseball operations department has been less than stellar.

Bundy came to the Angels in an off-season trade in exchange for four minor league players.

On Saturday, Bundy gave up just one run (earned) on three hits while striking out seven and walking none in 6.2 innings. He faced 24 batters and threw 90 pitches (64 strikes).

Manaea was not a mystery on Saturday

Justin Upton put the Angels up on the board in the fourth inning when took a 1-1 pitch from Manaea over the left-field wall for his first home run of the season. It was also the 299th home run of Upton’s career.

Manaea had retired the previous 11 hitters he faced.

The fifth inning proved to be Manaea’s downfall. The Angels scored three runs off four hits. That sent Manaea (0-1) to the showers as J.B. Wendelken came on in relief.

With their 4-0 lead, the Angels never looked back.

A’s threatened in the seventh

With two out in the bottom of the seventh, Stephen Piscotty doubled down the left-field line. After a pitching change, Robbie Grossman drove Piscotty home with single to left. Grossman was able to steal second base and Chad Pinder walked. Grossman moved up to third on a wild pitch by Keynan Middleton. Austin Allen then grounded out to end the inning.

That would be all of the scoring for Oakland in the game.

The highlight for the A’s

Jesus Luzardo entered the game in the top of the sixth inning for Oakland. Everyone was anxious to see if the young pitcher could pick up where he left off from last season.

Luzardo threw 3.0 scoreless innings allowing just one hit while striking out two and walking one batter. He faced 10 hitters and tossed 44 pitches (28 strikes).

Luzardo ended 2019 with four scoreless outings and now has a 10.0-inning scoreless streak. He has given up just two runs in 15.0 career innings with 1.20 ERA.

Up next

There will many eyes watching the game on Sunday. The Angels will send their two-way superstar – Shohei Ohtani – to the mound to make a pitching start for the first time since 2018. He was unable to pitch in 2019 while recovering from “Tommy John Surgery’. In 2018, Ohtani posted a record of 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA in 10 starts. He recorded a 1.16 WHIP.

Mike Fiers will make the start for the A’s. Fiers finished 2019 with a record of 15-4 in 33 starts and an ERA of 3.90. He worked 184.2 innings and struck out 126 batters with a 1.19 WHIP.

Despite obvious flaws, Shohei Ohtani continues to shine for the Angels

Photo credit: @AngelsRadioKLAA

By Mizhuo Takagi

OAKLAND — Despite him missing 2/3rds of the season as a pitcher and the Los Angeles Angels having a losing season, two-way phenomenon Shohei Ohitani has proven his abilities and remains a candidate for the AL Rookie of the Year award.

Ichiro Suzuki was the sensation when he made his Major League debut with the Mariners in 2001, and the high-volume contact hitter not only won the AL Rookie of the Year, but also the AL MVP. 17 years later Ohtani crossed the ocean from Japan, but he is totally different. He is a slugger and a pitcher who can throw the ball over 100 miles per hour.

Ohtani made his debut as DH on March 29, and as a pitcher on April 1. Both debuts occurred in Oakland and the lucky fans in the Bay Area got to watch him hit and pitch.

Ohtani’s two-way endeavor brought excitement to both sides of the Pacific. In fact, there were approximately 200 Japanese reporters and crew members on Opening Day and 100 to 150 through the season when he plays at home.

Ohtani was met with skepticism, but he was named AL Player of the Week on April 8, and later AL Rookie of the Month for April.

When Ohtani’s right elbow injury was reported in June, disappointment spread. It was like, “the dream is over!” But he came back after missing six weeks with the injury and one of the two dreams is still alive. He continues to hit homers and contribute to production.

On September 2, Ohtani became the first player to hit 15 homers and pitch 50 innings since Babe Ruth. Now, he has extended the number of HRs to 20. He received his second career Player of the Week honor on September 10.

Ohtani played DH during three-game series against the A’s from September 18 to 20, and there were Ohtani fans all the way from Japan who stopped by Oakland just to watch him play.

Osamu and Noriko Suzuki, who used to live in Menlo Park in 2001, visited the Bay Area to watch Ohtani play. His first season in the MLB may be a let down, but they felt relieved rather than disappointed.

The Suzukis said, “We were worried about his injury, but he is hitting well and even a Rookie of the Year candidate. It could have been a better season, but I think he has a great season and we are happy for him.”

Japanese college student, Taku Shibata, and his three friends were all decked out in Ohtani t-shirts in Oakland.

Shibata said, “I hope he will continue to play two-way as long as he can. It would have been awesome if I could watch him pitch too, but I will definitely come and watch him when he recovers from injury. He is truly a star for my generation.”

If Ohtani undergoes Tommy John surgery, he will likely not return to the mound until 2020. It has been reported that he has not made any decision yet and is trying to look at other options. So many pitchers have gone through Tommy John surgery, but there is no example nor two-way player like him.

Sho-nuff got the right stuff: Ohtani unhittable in second outing versus the A’s

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By Morris Phillips

Years from now, the video chronicling the Major League Baseball career of Shohei Ohtani will begin with the Japanese star plowing through the Oakland A’s.

From Ohtani’s perspective, it will make for a rousing start to a multi-faceted highlight reel.

For the A’s, not so much.

Ohtani beat the A’s for the second straight Sunday–earning his first two big league wins–as he dominated from the start, retiring the first 19 batters he faced. For seven innings, Ohtani was in control, allowing just one hit with 12 strikeouts and no walks.  Only Jonathon Lucroy among those in the A’s starting lineup could avoid striking out at least once.

“It didn’t look like [the A’s] had a chance up there, the way he was throwing,” Angels infielder Zack Cozart said. “They got the (one) hit, but it didn’t diminish how he pitched.”

In Oakland, Ohtani clocked in the high-90’s and became nearly unhittable when those fastballs were mixed in with the pitcher’s confounding breaking pitches. But at least he was temporarily fallible, allowing a three-run homer to Matt Chapman. In Anaheim, the 23-year old executed from the first to the seventh, allowing only Marcus Semien’s solidly struck single in the seventh.

From the A’s perspective, their offense was left wounded and in need of an ambulance. The toll in the two Ohtani starts? 55 A’s plate appearances, six batters reached, four hits, two walks and 18 struck out.

“He’s got a deliberate delivery, and it makes his fastball play even better,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “And he has a really good (splitter). The difference in speeds between his split and his fastball and when he locates his split down in the zone, it’s very tough to pick up.”

Ohtani homered in three consecutive games earlier this week, the last of which came against the A’s Friday night. So that’s three home runs and two wins in the first 10 games of Ohtani’s MLB career. No one’s accomplished that combination of feats in the first 10 games of their career since Jim Shaw did so for the Washington Senators in 1919.

The A’s fell into the AL West cellar with the loss, their fifth in seven meetings with the Angels to start the season.

 

 

 

Ohtani throws gas in MLB pitching debut; A’s fall to the Angels again

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Photo courtesy of Kelley L. Cox/USA Today

By Morris Phillips

OAKLAND–For a minute, it appeared as if the A’s had a handle on Shohei Ohtani in his major league pitching debut.

For a minute.

In the opening weekend series finale, Ohtani became the first big leaguer to have a starting offensive assignment and pitch as a starter within 10 games of his debut since Babe Ruth. But Ohtani made sure that history was just a jumping off point as he threw high 90’s gas throughout and struck out three the first four batters he faced swinging.

Then Ohtani struggled to execute breaking pitches–an issue for the Japanese import in spring training–and Matt Chapman seized the opening with a three-run homer that gave the A’s a brief 3-2 lead in the second inning.

Did we mention high 90’s gas? After allowing Chapman’s home run, Ohtani leaned heavily on his fastball-splitter combo, retiring 14 of the final 15 batters he faced.

Add 13 hits to Ohtani’s mini-gem and the Angels 7-4 win felt more lopsided and assured than it was.

“You can see how he can get hitters out, not just the velocity but all his pitches,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He used everything. Outside of one stretch of three hitters in the second inning, that’s about as well as you can pitch.”