Oakland A’s face tough task in shutting down Shohei Ohtani

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - MAY 22: Chris Bassitt #40 of the Oakland Athletics pitches during the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 22, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - MAY 22: Chris Bassitt #40 of the Oakland Athletics pitches during the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 22, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /

Oakland A’s face tough task in shutting down Shohei Ohtani in their series with the Los Angeles Angels

The Oakland A’s were able to avoid getting swept by the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday, but it’s hard not to feel a bit of disappointment that the A’s didn’t take a series win against their division rivals from the north. With a neck-in-neck division race against the Houston Astros, the A’s look to see if they can win another series against the banged-up Los Angeles Angels.

The Angels Pitching

Ohtani, Cobb, Quintana, Bundy

There is some flexibility with the Angles 6 Man rotation due to the off-day they had on Monday. One thing that is guaranteed is a date with one of MLB’s brightest stars, Shohei Ohtani. I’m far from the first to acknowledge the greatness that the phenom brings to the diamond each night. He’s struck out 45 batters in a little over 30 innings, has allowed no more than five hits in all of his starts last year, and I hear he isn’t too bad at the plate either.

Even considering Ohtani’s massive talent, this isn’t an automatic loss for the A’s. The two-way star has only pitched deeper than five innings once this year, leaving the Angels bullpen responsible for four innings of work. This strategy has paid off for teams like the A’s and the Rays, but the Halo’s bullpen doesn’t have the back-end talent or depth to make this a winning strategy. Despite three quality outings from Ohtani, the Angles have lost the last three games he started. Ohtani also displayed some worrying signs in his previous start. His fastball velocity was way down, and he only struck out five hitters, a relatively low mark compared to the high standards he sets. It seems that this issue isn’t too concerning to the Angels’ staff, but it is something to keep an eye on.

While his ERA isn’t as stellar, and he won’t grab as many headlines as a two-way superstar, Alex Cobb is an arm that could cause some problems for the Oakland A’s. After a few rough starts in April, Cobb has found his stride, and he hasn’t allowed a run yet in May. While his K/9 of 12 is likely to go down to something closer to his career norm, perhaps Cobb could ride his hot streak into another start.

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