Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon hinted that superstar pitcher/designated hitter Shohei Ohtani may have tipped his pitches during his team's 6-1 road loss to the New York Yankees on Thursday.
Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com relayed Maddon's comments:
Rhett Bollinger @RhettBollinger
Joe Maddon noted it was strange to see Shohei Ohtani register just three swings and misses on the mound. Didn't accuse the Yankees of doing anything wrong but he hinted at Ohtani possibly tipping pitches. "They're really good at reading pitchers. They're very good at."
It was an unusually rough outing for Ohtani, who allowed four earned runs (three solo home runs) and eight hits in three innings. He struck out just two.
The 27-year-old entered the day with a 3.45 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 44.1 innings. His ERA dropped to 3.99 with the loss.
Ohtani is coming off one of the greatest seasons in MLB history. At the plate, he hit 46 home runs with 100 RBI and a .965 OPS. On the mound, he went 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 130.1 innings. Ohtani was the unanimous choice for the American League MVP after the season.
Ohtani hasn't done as well at the plate or on the mound this year, but he's still clearly one of the most valuable players in baseball. He entered Thursday with a more-than-respectable .795 OPS with 11 home runs and 32 RBI.
The Angels are faring better this year, too, although they have lost seven straight and 11 of their last 14. They are still 27-24, good enough for second in the AL West and the sixth and final playoff spot in the league.
For now, Ohtani will shift to designated hitter duties as the Angels look to take one back from the Yankees in the nightcap of their Thursday doubleheader, which begins at 7:05 p.m. ET.