The Los Angeles Angels hope to find a way to get Shohei Ohtani more at-bats when they conclude their two-game series at the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night.
The Angels can’t use a designated hitter in the National League park and Ohtani isn’t scheduled to pitch again until Friday, leaving one of the hottest and most popular players in the majors reduced to pinch-hit duties.
Ohtani came off the bench with two outs in the ninth on Monday afternoon, but the Giants led 6-1 and were happy to walk Ohtani on five pitches.
Ohtani, who remains third in the AL with 15 home runs and sixth with 40 RBIs, has twice moved to the outfield late in games this season after pitching, and another time after entering as a pinch-hitter.
“At some point, we’ll be more comfortable with actually just popping him in a National League game and putting him in a position because he’s very capable,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “It’s a mental adhesion we have to get beyond because when he’s not in that lineup, it looks different.”
Many fans stuck around to see if Ohtani would get in the game on Monday and cheered when he moved into the on-deck circle.
He has plenty of admirers in the opposing dugout as well.
“Without question one of the more talented players in baseball, one of the more dynamic players in baseball, and obviously does something that nobody else can do in being able to play and perform at the highest level both ways,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “Also, a guy that can bring quite a bit of positive energy and attention to a club. He’s been fun to watch from the perspective of a manager, but also just taking a step back and watching him as a fan.”
Alex Wood is scheduled to start for the Giants. He’ll be aiming to get back on track after losing his past two outings, both against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Wood (5-2, 2.44 ERA) does not have a decision in three career appearances against the Angels, including two starts. He has a 4.73 in 13 1/3 innings against Los Angeles.
Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon should be happy to see Wood. He’s 13-for-23 in his career off the left-hander.
Rendon went 0-for-4 in the series opener and his batting average has dropped to .213. He was hitting .273 when he hit a foul ball off his left knee on May 2 and missed nine games.
The Angels are scheduled to send left-hander Andrew Heaney to the mound on Tuesday. Heaney (2-3, 5.24 ERA) hasn’t been remarkable this season, but he has been consistent. He posted a 5.25 ERA in five starts in April and a 5.23 ERA in four starts in May.
The Angels built a 9-1 lead after four innings in his last outing on Tuesday against the Texas Rangers and he took advantage, posting his first win since April 9. He went 5 2/3 innings, allowing three runs and four hits in the 11-5 win in Anaheim.
Heaney made his only appearance against San Francisco on April 20, 2018, in Anaheim, allowing seven runs in 4 1/3 innings of an 8-1 loss.
–Field Level Media