Injury Woes Continue for Shohei Ohtani as Los Angeles Angels Struggle

Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani continues to struggle with finger pain, leaving the mound early for the third consecutive start. As the Angels face a downward spiral and uncertainty surrounding Ohtani’s future before the trade deadline, the multi-talented superstar is battling challenges that go beyond a blister and cracked fingernail hindering his pitching performance.

In Friday night’s game against the Houston Astros, Ohtani allowed four earned runs on five hits before leaving the mound in the sixth inning. Shortly after his departure, Mauricio Dubon delivered a tiebreaking two-run single, leading the Astros to a 7-5 victory. Ohtani, with a record of 7-5 this season, walked Corey Julks to open the sixth inning before consulting with the Angels’ training staff and leaving the game due to persistent problems with his pitching hand. In his previous start before the All-Star break, Ohtani’s outing was cut short due to a fingertip blister, and he had also dealt with a cracked nail last month.

Expressing frustration, Ohtani stated that things didn’t go the way he wanted and that he hasn’t thought about his next outing yet. The severity of this injury remains uncertain, as Ohtani finds it difficult to determine its significance. Furthermore, the Angels’ recent losing streak, losing six straight and 10 out of 11 games, has added to the frustration felt by Ohtani and the entire team.

Ohtani, although troubled on the mound, continued to contribute as a hitter, delivering two singles at the plate in the game against the Astros. However, the Angels’ struggles have diminished their playoff chances, increasing the possibility of considering trading Ohtani, who will become a free agent this winter.

The game saw reliever Jacob Webb allow Dubon’s clutch single and Jose Abreu’s RBI single after Ohtani’s exit. The Astros’ bullpen held on to secure a win in their first game after the All-Star break, with closer Ryan Pressly striking out Ohtani while fanning the side in the ninth inning to earn his 21st save of the season.

The Angels also faced other setbacks during the game. Luis Rengifo was removed from the game in the fifth inning after committing an error and failing to prevent Kyle Tucker from scoring from second. Manager Phil Nevin made it clear that certain behaviors would not be tolerated, leading to Rengifo’s removal. Rengifo and Mike Moustakas, who mishandled a bunt, both acknowledged their mistakes after the game.

In summary, Ohtani’s ongoing struggles with finger pain and the Angels’ downward slide have raised questions about his future with the team. Despite his continued contributions as a hitter, the Angels’ recent losing streak has diminished their playoff prospects. The possibility of trading Ohtani, who will be a free agent after the season, looms. Ultimately, the Angels’ hopes of a postseason run and Ohtani’s prospects as a two-way superstar are in jeopardy due to the challenges he faces on and off the field.