Ohtani excelling on mound in second half

August 15th, 2021

ANAHEIM -- As the regular season rapidly approaches its final month, right-hander will make another case for American League MVP honors with his 18th start of the year on Wednesday in Detroit.

Despite a slow start at the plate since the All-Star break, the two-way phenom has remained steady on the mound.

In 25 innings across four starts, the right-hander has struck out 25 hitters while keeping opposing teams to a .169 batting average. He has a 1.44 ERA and a record of 3-0 in that span.

The Angels are looking to bolster their pitching for the remainder of the season, and there’s no better player to have on the mound than Ohtani as he continues to shatter century-old records.

"The way you beat [good] teams, I believe, is about pitching better than they do,” manager Joe Maddon said. “So, it really comes down to that. It's not like the offense has been restricted.”

At the plate, Ohtani has batted .237 since the All-Star break entering Sunday. Though he still leads the American League with 39 home runs, his staggered consistency throughout July and August has caused a dip in his rate stats.

However, his effort on the mound has fazed opposing teams. Ohtani has helped the Angels to stay near .500 since the All-Star break, while also setting the tone for the rotation.

“You got to pitch better than good pitching when it's against good teams,” Maddon said. “You just can't go up there with heavy gloves on and try to just beat them up. It's a hard way to survive.”

Eaton designated for assignment
Exactly one month after signing his free-agent contract with the Angels, was designated for assignment Sunday. In 25 games, the outfielder posted a .200 batting average with a homer, two RBIs and 16 strikeouts.

With just over 40 games left in the regular season, the Angels evaluated their needs on the field to finish above .500 for the first time since 2015. While Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh have proven to be solid defensive outfielders, the Angels' pitching staff needed help.

Right-hander was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake as the corresponding move for Eaton, who was designated for assignment for the second time this season.

“Adam was fabulous -- not even good, he was fabulous in a really short period of time,” Maddon said. “I've really gotten to like this guy a lot. It's just that we have plenty of outfielders right now.”

Eaton started the season with the White Sox, batting .201 in 58 games with five homers and 28 RBIs. He was placed on the 10-day injured list on June 17 with a right hamstring strain that sidelined him for two weeks.

But after going 4-for-15 in four games in his return from the IL, the White Sox DFA'd and then released Eaton. The Angels, in need of outfield help with Mike Trout and Justin Upton on the IL, signed Eaton as a free agent.

Now that the Angels have other outfield reinforcements on the roster, Eaton was aware that his time with the Angels was at its end.

"He sees that. He had everything evaluated properly,” Maddon said. “It's about his own life and his own career. And he's had a good one. At some point, guys just want to be with their families, too. He recognizes the importance of these guys playing off him. So that's it. He gets it, he knows it. He's right, and I really appreciated his evaluation.”