Angels' Maddon thinks Ohtani's tipping after loss vs Yanks
(AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
By JAKE SEINER
AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) Nobody had to tip off the Yankees about Shohei Ohtani, even though he rarely comes through New York.
In fact, Angels manager Joe Maddon suspects the Bronx Bombers knew something about the reigning AL MVP on Thursday that even the two-way star didn't.
Maddon indicated that Ohtani was tipping his pitches to New York during Los Angeles' 6-1 loss after the right-hander gave up solo homers to Matt Carpenter, Gleyber Torres and Aaron Judge. The Angels lost their seventh straight, their worst skid since an eight-game slide in 2019, in the opener of a doubleheader.
"They're really good at reading pitchers," Maddon said of the Yankees. "They're very good at it."
Ohtani was set to make history in the nightcap, joining Hall of Famer slugger Jimmie Foxx as the only players to start both ends of a doubleheader, one of them as a pitcher, per the Elias Sports Bureau. Foxx did it with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1945 during the final month of his career.
Ohtani, set to DH, was hoping to rinse a miserable start to a soggy day in the Bronx.
Carpenter led off the first inning with a homer that capped an 11-pitch at-bat, and Ohtani didn't get his first swing-and-miss until his 54th pitch. He was charged with four runs in three-plus innings before Maddon pulled the plug after 75 pitches.
Maddon said he thought New York had picked up on a tell via "natural means."
"We just have to be more vigilant," Maddon said.
Asked if he was tipping, Ohtani said with a laugh: "I'm not sure, you should probably ask the other side."
Nestor Cortes (5-1) delivered seven tidy innings, DJ LeMahieu also homered and the major league-leading Yankees ensured themselves a series victory over slumping Los Angeles.
The game was played under threat of thunderstorms that held off until the top of the ninth. The sky opened as Wandy Peralta finished his warmup tosses, the tarp was rolled out and a 1-hour, 28-minute delay followed.
Peralta came back after the pause and finished his first save, striking out Ohtani to end it.
Ohtani (3-4) slogged through another disappointing day at Yankee Stadium after getting two outs and allowing seven runs in his debut on the Bronx rubber last June.
The Japanese right-hander was only a touch better in front of a sparsely attended makeup of Wednesday's rainout. He did have a hit off Cortes, but he was promptly picked off by the left-hander.
The resurgent Carpenter put Ohtani behind with his third homer in six games since joining the Yankees as a free agent, a soaring fly that narrowly stayed inside the right-field foul pole.
"Really just trying to set the tone as a leadoff hitter that we were going to try to spoil some of his best stuff," Carpenter said.
"It was awesome," Yankees manager Aaron Boone added. "It was just a really good at-bat where he was able to see a lot, everyone else was able to see a lot."
Torres connected three batters later to make it 2-0, his 10th homer of the season to surpass his total from 2021. Judge tagged Ohtani leading off the third, a line drive that easily cleared the wall in left for his major league-leading 19th homer.
Ohtani's velocity was up half a tick from his season average, but he didn't induce a whiff until a fastball that struck out Anthony Rizzo to end a 10-pitch at-bat in the third. He ended with three misses on 45 swings, a 6.7% rate that's second lowest in his career, better only than his first outing following Tommy John surgery in 2020, per Statcast.
"I think our guys just capitalized on some mistakes against him," Boone said.
Ohtani allowed two soft-hit singles to start the fourth inning, and that was enough for Maddon. Ohtani flipped the ball in his hand and muttered to himself when Maddon emerged from the dugout.
Ohtani struck out against Clarke Schmidt in the eighth after taking a fastball that appeared to be just off the outside corner. Schmidt then punched out Mike Trout, who struck out three times in the opener to extend an 0-for-12 slide.
Schmidt allowed a run and loaded the bases before handing off to left-hander Peralta, who got a two-out flyball from Jared Walsh to preserve a five-run lead.
Cortes threw just 11 pitches over his final two innings, providing the sixth straight start by a Yankees pitcher of at least six innings, best for the franchise since 2018.
The crafty lefty scattered five hits, walked two and struck out seven on 96 pitches. He dropped his ERA to 1.50, trailing only Texas' Martin Perez at 1.42 for the major league lead.
Carpenter, released by the Rangers this month and grabbed off the scrap heap by New York, is the third Yankee to homer for his first three hits with the franchise, joining Kyle Higashioka in 2018 and Alfonso Soriano in 1999-2000, according to Elias.
Yankees right-hander Jameson Taillon (5-1, 2.49 ERA) was set to face left-hander Reid Detmers (2-2, 4.65) in the nightcap.
Second base umpire Chris Guccione was drilled in the back by Jose Trevino's grounder in the fifth, but he bounced up quickly and gave a thumbs-up to cheering fans. The Angels weren't so thrilled - Trevino's grounder looked like an easy double-play ball.
Angels: LHP Jhonathan Diaz was added as Los Angeles' 27th man for the doubleheader and pitched four innings in the opener.
Yankees: OF Estevan Florial was called up as New York's 27th man.
Angels: New Jersey native Mike Trout gets to play close to home as Los Angeles opens a three-game series in Philadelphia. RHP Chase Silseth (1-1, 3.07 ERA) is slated for Friday's opener against Phillies RHP Zach Eflin (1-4, 4.60).
Yankees: RHP Gerrit Cole (4-1, 3.12) is set to face Tigers RHP Elvin Rodriguez (0-0, 6.17) in the opener of a three-game set in the Bronx.
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Updated June 2, 2022