Blue Jays heeded Matt Chapman’s advice about Shohei Ohtani
Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Matt Chapman had some heated words for manager John Schneider on Friday over how Schneider handled Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani. One day later, Schneider and the Jays appear to have received the message.
After Ohtani homered in the first inning of Friday’s game, cameras caught Chapman angrily confronting Schneider in the dugout. Chapman appeared to ask Schneider why the Blue Jays were pitching to Ohtani.
“Why did we pitch to him? He’s the only f****** guy on the team that can hit.”
– Matt Chapman to John Schneider after Shohei Ohtani’s first inning HR
— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) July 29, 2023
“Why did we pitch to him? He’s the only f—ing guy on the team that can hit,” Chapman appeared to tell Schneider.
The Blue Jays wound up winning Friday, but Chapman’s message seemed to land on Saturday. Ohtani was hit by a pitch in his first plate appearance and doubled in his second. After that, the Blue Jays intentionally walked him twice — once in the fifth inning with a runner on second and nobody out, and a second time in the sixth with runners at first and third and two out. Ohtani did not score on either occasion in a 6-1 Blue Jays win.
Chapman probably didn’t mean the Blue Jays needed to intentionally walk Ohtani every time he hits. Pitching around him might have been a preferable option, even with the two-way star feeling a bit bothered by injury lately.
For what it’s worth, Ohtani had only been intentionally walked eight times all year coming into Saturday’s game. That number may keep going up, especially as long as Mike Trout remains sidelined.