Angels postseason chances take blow as Ohtani goes to DL

ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 17: Shohei Ohtani
ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 17: Shohei Ohtani /

Shohei Ohtani is heading to the DL at the worst possible time for the Los Angeles Angels, and they’ll have to fight to stay in the postseason race.

Shohei Ohtani was the biggest story in baseball to start the year. Off of a poor spring training, he proceeded to be great. He had three home runs in as many days and took a perfect game into the seventh inning. He was ready to help contribute to the Angels’ playoff run. As a team, they started the year 13-3 and looked like they would give the Houston Astros a run for their money in the division.

However, they’ve faded into third place in the division. The Astros pitching has been dominant as expected and the Seattle Mariners have turned into a winning machine since Robinson Cano went down. Now though, the Angels have looked like their about to make another push. Winners of their last four, the team was headed back into the playoff race.

Now though, Ohtani has been placed on the DL with a UCL sprain. He will be out at least three weeks and potentially longer. The Angels have to be careful with how they use him now, as a tear of the UCL requires Tommy John and a year (or more) of rehab. Even when he does return, his pitch count will likely be carefully monitored to start.

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More importantly, the Angels lose a .907 OPS and their best starting ERA. Ohtani has been hitting, both for contact and power. His .289 batting average is a testament to that, plus he’s only hit into one double play all year. On top of that, he has an isolated power of .246 as he’s been able to contribute with big hits.

Ohtani, despite not pitching as often, has the best ERA on the Angels staff. Every time he takes the mound, they have a very good chance to win. He strikes out just over 11 batters every nine innings so he can escape jams at will.

Losing his production really hurts the Angels right now. They are going to have to adjust their way of doing things on the fly, and if they aren’t quick about it, they could be out of the playoff race before they know it.