- July 15, 2023
- Posted by: legaleseblogger
- Category: Related News
# Angels Struggle Continues as Ohtani Fights Finger Injury
The Los Angeles Angels were desperate for a positive start to the second half of the season after enduring a rough stretch, losing nine of their last ten games. To ignite some much-needed momentum, they turned to their ace and two-way superstar, Shohei Ohtani. However, the same issues that plagued them during their recent struggles resurfaced in their game against the Houston Astros on Friday night. Ohtani battled with his blister/fingernail problem, while the Angels committed costly misplays and mental errors, resulting in a disappointing 7-5 loss at Angel Stadium.
## Ohtani’s Performance and Injury Concerns
Shohei Ohtani took the mound and lasted five-plus innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on five hits and three walks. Despite striking out seven batters, Ohtani’s performance was marred by his ongoing finger issue. This marked the third consecutive outing in which he had to depart prematurely due to concerns with his right middle finger. The All-Star break was expected to provide him with sufficient rest, but the lingering discomfort persisted. Ohtani’s velocity was slightly down, and he surrendered five runs, mirroring his previous start.
## Ohtani’s Frustration and Trade Value Implications
The frustration was evident for Ohtani, the frontrunner for the AL MVP Award, as well as his teammates. The team’s record dipped below .500 at 45-47, and Ohtani acknowledged that his performance had contributed to their struggles. The entire team shared the frustrations that built up from a string of losses. Moreover, Ohtani’s finger injury may impact his trade value if it continues to be a lingering issue. While it is unlikely that the Angels will trade him, considering his status as a free agent after the season, they may still listen to offers, as reported by MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi.
## Defensive Lapses and Managerial Decisions
In addition to Ohtani’s pitching concerns, defensive lapses also plagued the Angels’ performance. In the fifth inning, Ohtani allowed back-to-back doubles, followed by a costly error committed by Luis Rengifo. Rengifo mishandled a ground ball from Jose Abreu and failed to hustle after the ball, allowing an additional run to score. Manager Phil Nevin promptly benched Rengifo in favor of Eduardo Escobar, addressing a lapse in effort and commitment.
## Renewed Hope and Missed Opportunities
Despite the early struggles, the Angels managed to mount a comeback in the sixth inning, tying the game through RBI singles from Mickey Moniak and Escobar. However, the opportunity to take the lead slipped away as Mike Moustakas grounded into a double play to end the inning. In the subsequent inning, Ohtani was replaced by Jacob Webb after walking the leadoff hitter. Suboptimal decision-making surfaced once again when Moustakas took the easy out at first base instead of initiating a potential double play, resulting in a go-ahead two-run single by Mauricio Dubón.
## Costly Mistake and Missed Chances
In the midst of their struggles, the Angels had a chance to rally in the sixth inning with runners on first and second and nobody out. However, Michael Stefanic popped up a bunt attempt, leading to Hunter Renfroe being doubled off second base. This missed opportunity further dampened the team’s hopes for a comeback. Nevin acknowledged the importance of executing fundamental plays cleanly and lamented the failure to execute in crucial moments.
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