Angels’ Ace Shohei Ohtani Struggles with Finger Injury, Costly Errors in 7-5 Loss to Astros

Shohei Ohtani’s struggles continued as the Los Angeles Angels suffered a 7-5 loss to the Houston Astros in their first game after the All-Star break. The Angels were hoping to gain some momentum after a disappointing end to the first half of the season, but they were plagued by the same issues that had hindered them during their recent rough stretch.

Ohtani, who is not only the team’s ace pitcher but also a two-way superstar, battled with a blister/fingernail issue throughout the game. He went five-plus innings, giving up five runs (four earned) on five hits and three walks with seven strikeouts. This marked the third consecutive outing in which Ohtani had to leave prematurely due to an issue with his right middle finger.

“For the most part, things just didn’t go the way I wanted them to,” Ohtani expressed through his interpreter. “It’s been like that on the mound the last couple outings.”

The finger injury is concerning for Ohtani, especially considering that he is set to become a free agent after the season. While the Angels are unlikely to trade him, they may consider listening to offers, according to MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi. The injury could potentially impact Ohtani’s trade value if it continues to be problematic.

The Angels’ frustrations were evident as they fell below .500 with a record of 45-47. Ohtani acknowledged the team’s collective frustration, taking responsibility for his own performance. He struggled with his command in the fourth inning, hitting a batter and walking two, which ultimately led to two runs.

Despite showing signs of life with RBI singles from Mickey Moniak and Eduardo Escobar in the sixth inning to tie the game, the Angels couldn’t sustain their momentum. Costly misplays and mental blunders hindered their chances of a comeback.

The game unraveled further in the fifth inning, as Ohtani allowed back-to-back doubles and Luis Rengifo made a costly error. Rengifo’s lack of effort led to an extra run for the Astros, and he was subsequently benched by manager Phil Nevin.

In the end, the Angels missed crucial opportunities to rally, including a potential rally in the sixth inning that was halted by a double play. The fundamental errors and missed opportunities proved costly for the team.

The Angels now face an uphill battle in their quest for momentum and success in the second half of the season. They will need to address their issues, both on the mound and in the field, in order to turn their season around. The team, and Ohtani specifically, will need to regroup and find a way to overcome their recent struggles if they hope to make a playoff push.