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#pounditMonday, September 25, 2023

Shohei Ohtani sums up Angels’ difficult season

Shohei Ohtani smiles

Jul 19, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; American League pitcher/designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) of the Los Angeles Angels smiles at fans before the 2022 MLB All Star Game at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Things have not gone according to plan for the Los Angeles Angels this season. They are 45-61, in fourth place in the AL West and 24 games out of first place. That’s a miserable place to be, admits superstar Shohei Ohtani.

“Remaining motivated in that way is hard,” Ohtani told the Los Angeles Times following a 3-1 loss to the A’s earlier this week.

Ohtani hurled 5.2 inning of two-run ball, but it wasn’t enough for the Angels. Their bats couldn’t get going and Ohtani himself went 0-for-3.

“Individually, there are many things I have to do,” he said. “But my life in baseball will continue for some time and whatever the circumstances, I’d like to be focused each and every game.”

Since those comments were made, the Angels have gone 1-1 including an 8-7 loss to Oakland in which they connected for seven solo home runs. They were barely able to escape the Marines on Friday night, rebounding in the 10th inning after blowing a 4-0 lead in the ninth.

Things are not likely to get any easier for Los Angeles, either. They traded away starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard, closer Raisel Iglesias and outfielder Brandon Marsh at the deadline.

“I’m cheering from the bottom of my heart for the players who left,” Ohtani added. “I’d like them to be part of good teams, get results and do their best in the postseason.”

The postseason is where Ohtani would love to be, but he recognizes that’s not likely to happen. That reality puts a strain on the day-to-day.

“As a player, it’s pretty tough knowing the chances are low that a win will play a part in getting you to the postseason. But I think I’d like to do what I have to do the best I can,” he said.

The remainder of the season is certain to be a grind for Ohtani and his Angels teammates.


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