Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
The Official Site of the Houston Astros
news

Astros News

Altuve, Astros ready for 1st look at Ohtani

Japanese two-way star starts opposite Morton on Tuesday
MLB.com @brianmctaggart

HOUSTON -- The Astros are about to get their first look at two-way Japanese star Shohei Ohtani, who's scheduled to make his fourth start of the season on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park. Ohtani is 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA in three starts, having lasted only two innings last Tuesday against Boston after developing a blister and giving up three runs on four hits.

Ohtani isn't in the lineup at designated hitter the day before or after he pitches, so Tuesday will be the only time the Astros see him on the field during the Angels' visit.

View Full Game Coverage

HOUSTON -- The Astros are about to get their first look at two-way Japanese star Shohei Ohtani, who's scheduled to make his fourth start of the season on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park. Ohtani is 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA in three starts, having lasted only two innings last Tuesday against Boston after developing a blister and giving up three runs on four hits.

Ohtani isn't in the lineup at designated hitter the day before or after he pitches, so Tuesday will be the only time the Astros see him on the field during the Angels' visit.

View Full Game Coverage

"He's just another pitcher," Astros outfielder Josh Reddick said. "It's all about hype, so you have to go in there and do your thing against another pitcher. Obviously, you're excited to face him and see what he's about, but I don't think we're worried at all."

Ohtani -- whose 19 strikeouts, all swinging, through his first three games are tied for the Angels' record -- allowed three runs in six innings in his first start, on April 1 at Oakland, and he held the A's to one hit in seven scoreless innings a week later. Four of the six runs he's allowed have scored on home runs.

"I hear he's good," said three-time batting champion Jose Altuve, who singled off Ohtani in 2014 in the Japan All-Star Series. "He throws 100 [mph] with a good split. We've got to battle out there and go out there and try to score some runs, even against him."

Video: MLB@JPN: Altuve knocks a leadoff single to right

The Astros were prepared to try to sign Ohtani out of Japan last winter but never got past the first round of negotiations.

"I'm certainly interested to see him," manager AJ Hinch said. "We have to find a way to beat him. He's been very good early on. I know he had one little bad start. I think everyone is a little intrigued. Similar to any player that comes into this league, certainly he has fanfare and international notoriety. There's intrigue to check him out and see what he's got against our guys."

As a hitter, Ohtani set an Angels record with 16 total bases and seven RBIs through his first four games with a plate appearance. He's the first American League player to homer in three straight games in the same season in which he started a game as a pitcher since Babe Ruth in 1930.

Being selective key for Fisher

The Astros are going to be patient with struggling outfielder Derek Fisher, who was hitting .128 with 19 strikeouts in 39 at-bats entering the series with the Angels. He's drawn only two walks.

Hinch said the key to Fisher's at-bats is pitch selection.

"He's frustrated because of some of the tough at-bats and the swing and miss," Hinch said. "He can still run the bases well and is playing good defense. He's mixed in a couple of games here and there, but there is a sense of urgency that we'd like to see him be a little bit more consistent at the plate. He knows that. We know that. He's been at this level for a few months now to where the league is adjusting to him, [and] he's got to adjust back to the league."

Fisher has swung and missed at 34.7 percent of the 171 pitches he's been thrown this season, which is the second-highest percentage on the team behind Jake Marisnick (36 percent entering Monday). Against breaking pitches, Fisher has whiffed 42 percent of the time (34 pitches).

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros