Shohei Ohtani is hit by a pitch in Angels’ first shutout loss of 2021 – Daily Bulletin

The Angels achieved a first this season Sunday in Seattle, one they had been trying to avoid.

Their 2-0 loss to the Mariners was their first shutout loss of the season. Justus Sheffield and four relievers limited the Angels to five hits ― and added injury to insult by hitting the Angels’ next starting pitcher on his throwing arm with a pitch.

In the first inning, Sheffield threw a 93-mph fastball that struck Shohei Ohtani on the right elbow. Ohtani was wearing a protective pad over the elbow, but he gasped and briefly crouched on the ground to collect himself before remaining in the game.

Manager Joe Maddon said Ohtani’s status for Monday’s start against the Tampa Bay Rays will be determined in the morning, “unless he’s abnormally sore when we get back (Sunday) night after flying.”

Ohtani finished 0 for 3 with two stolen bases as the Angels’ designated hitter.

For the first time since leaving Japan, the Angels are allowing Ohtani to be the team’s designated hitter on the day before he pitches this season. He’s also batted for himself in a game twice. Maddon said Ohtani might be allowed to hit for himself Monday, depending on the severity of his elbow soreness.

The Angels have confronted the risk involved in Ohtani’s two-way play before.

In his first start of the season on April 4, Ohtani threw 92 pitches against the Chicago White Sox, then collided with Jose Abreu when Abreu slid into home plate. He had already been hit by two pitches this season. None of these injuries resulted in Ohtani missing time on the mound, however a finger blister did cause him to miss two starts.

“This is normally something I’ll talk to Adam (Nevala, the Angels’ athletic trainer) in the morning about,” Maddon said. “He’ll have been in touch with Ippei (Mizuhara, Ohtani’s interpreter) and Shohei, and try to determine at that point. He might say ‘great, there’s no stiffness at all,’ or ‘it’s stiff’ and we’ll have to make an adjustment.”

Sheffield (2-2) became the latest left-handed pitcher to stymie the Angels in 2021. The 24-year-old threw six shutout innings, scattering two hits and three walks while striking out four batters.

The Angels have only faced five left-handed starting pitchers this season, but they have become a recurring nightmare. The last four ― Sheffield, Lewis Thorpe, Danny Duffy and Steven Matz ― combined to limit the Angels to four earned runs across 22 innings, a 1.64 ERA.

The Angels were successful in creating chances to score, but repeatedly could not convert. They ultimately grounded into three double plays and went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

“I don’t know if it’s just the ability of some of these (opposing pitchers) to locate really well,” Maddon said, “but up and down, you would think this lineup would hit lefties well.”

After Ohtani was drilled in the first inning, he advanced to third base on a pair of steals. Anthony Rendon extended the inning with a walk. Yet neither of the Angels’ two hottest hitters, Mike Trout or Jared Walsh, delivered the critical hit against Sheffield. Both grounded out ― Walsh on a slider, Trout a sinker ― to end the inning.

The Mariners gave Ohtani a gift when an error by second baseman Dylan Moore allowed him to reach base in the third inning. Sheffield walked Trout, putting runners on first and second base with no outs. But a flyout by Rendon and the first of two double-play groundouts by Walsh ended the inning.

Trout finished 0 for 3, lowering his batting average to .413. It was only the third time this season Trout has played a complete game without collecting a hit.

Angels starter Dylan Bundy (0-3) suffered the loss despite allowing just two runs in six innings.

Seattle strung together three singles in the fourth inning. The last, a weakly-hit flare by Dylan Moore, drove in Kyle Seager with the first run.

In the fifth inning, Mariners catcher Luis Torrens split the gap in left-center field with a deep fly ball that bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double. Torrens took third base on a bunt by Sam Haggerty and scored on a sacrifice fly by Mitch Haniger.

Bundy lowered his earned-run average for the season to 4.00 but is still seeking his first win. He walked one batter and struck out six.

“I felt like I pitched all right today,” Bundy said. “Just two frustrating runs, I feel like. Hanging a few pitches there, a walk or two, but (I was) executing pitches and they were able to find some outfield grass there.”

Aaron Slegers and Mike Mayers each threw a scoreless inning of relief. The Angels (13-13) went 4-6 on their longest road trip of the season and lost two of three games to the Mariners.

Now they will wait for the news on Ohtani.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been hit, probably 11 years now,” Bundy said. “If your arm’s swollen up it ain’t going to be fun to throw a baseball. I’m sure he recovers well and we’ll see him out there pretty shortly, I think.”

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