‘There’s only one way’ for Ohtani to avoid Kershaw, field and public opinion point to LAD

June 22, 2023 0 Comments

Byung-hyun Kim made his historic major league debut on May 30, 1999, by striking out Mike Piazza of the New York Mets on a wild pitch.

Piaza hasn’t swung the bat well against Kim since. In 10 career at-bats against him, he’s drawn one walk and gone hitless in nine at-bats. The only two batters who faced Kim more than 10 times were Piazza and Brian Moeller. Since Mohler was a pitcher, that leaves only Piazza as a hitter.

Ichiro Suzuki, who has 3089 career hits and a .311 batting average in the majors, was held hitless in 15 at-bats by right-hander Ryan Vogelsong. Vogelsong averaged in the low 90s with his fastball and was proficient with a slider, curveball, and changeup. Despite being a right-hander, lefties rarely hit him well.

Tony Gwynn, considered one of the most sophisticated hitters of all time, also had a nemesis. Frank DiPino, a left-hander who pitched out of the bullpen for the Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs, and St. Louis Cardinals in the 1980s. Gwynn faced him 23 times, going 1-for-20 (.050). That’s the lowest batting average of any pitcher he’s faced in more than 10 at-bats.토토사이트

Every hitter has a pitcher they struggle against. There are very few that you can pinpoint as being broken, they’re just weak.

The Angels have said they won’t trade Ohtani if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive this summer. USATODAYYahoo!
Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who had been hot with the bat in June, got his ass handed to him by Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Kershaw, who started Game 1 of the Freeway Series at Angels Stadium on April 21, struck out Ohtani on all three occasions he faced en route to a five-hit shutout over seven innings. In his first at-bat, he flied out to left field on a fastball up the middle; in the fourth, on a 1B2S count, he struck out swinging on a five-pitch, 87.3-mph slider; and in the sixth, on an 87.9-mph slider, he flied out to left field.

Ohtani is now 0-for-11 in 11 at-bats against Kershaw. Only four pitchers have faced Ohtani for more than 10 at-bats: Kershaw, Wade LeBlanc (13 at Triple-A Atlanta), Justice Sheffield (11 at-bats – retired) and Rafael Montero of the Houston Astros (eight at-bats). All but Montero are lefties.

Ohtani was silent on the day, going 0-for-4, snapping a 15-game hitting streak. In effect, Kershaw stopped him.

The conventional wisdom is that left-handed hitters are bad against lefties. Ohtani is batting .250 (19-for-76) against lefties this year, .062 lower than his .312 (64-for-205) against righties. Career wOBA is .254 (184-for-725) against lefties and .278 (429-for-1542) against righties, a difference of 0.024.

The four pitches that Ohtani struck out against Kershaw were two fastballs, a slider and a curveball, with five ground outs and two fly outs. It’s not like he’s only weak against certain pitches, or that the ball only travels a certain course.

Also, all four of Ohtani’s games against Kershaw were at Angels Stadium. Kershaw is an ace at Angels Stadium. In nine career starts, he is 7-2 with a 1.93 ERA, 0.857 WHIP, and 0.164 BABIP. That’s much better than his ERA (2.20) and BABIP (0.204) at home in Dodger Stadium. In particular, in three starts at Angel Stadium since 2021, he’s been “untouchable,” allowing eight hits, three walks, 16 strikeouts, and no runs in 20 innings, with a BABIP of 0.121 (8-for-66).

Some analysts have suggested that Kershaw’s delivery and ball trajectory technically mismatched with Ohtani’s batting form and swing trajectory, but there is no objective evidence to support this.

The two teams will play a two-game series at Dodger Stadium on July 8-9. It’s the last road series of the year. Kershaw is scheduled to start the July 8 game if he stays in the rotation. We could see Ohtani again. Once a pitcher has a weakness, it’s hard to overcome.

There’s only one way for Ohtani to avoid Kershaw in the future. Become a teammate with Kershaw. He can do that by joining the Dodgers after this season. Most experts, players, media, and fans expect Ohtani to sign with the Dodgers in free agency this winter.

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