April 15, 2018

Patriots Day Game Postponed; Red Sox Face Ohtani On Tuesday

Tomorrow's Patriots Day game between the Red Sox and Orioles has been postponed because today's rain is expected to continue overnight and into Monday morning.

The game has been rescheduled for Thursday, May 17. This is the first Patriots Day game to be postponed in 34 years (1984).

The big news: Shohei Ohtani, the Angels' 23-year-old rookie pitcher/DH, will make his third start on the mound on Tuesday night, against the Red Sox and opposite David Price. Ohtani was scheduled to face the Royals today, but that game was one of six cancellations throughout MLB.

The three games in Anaheim will feature two of the top three winningest teams in MLB: the Red Sox (#1, 13-2, .867) and the Angels (#3, 13-3, .813). (The Mets are #2, 12-2, .857. Oh, and the Yankees are tied for #15.)

Ohtani took a perfect game into the seventh inning in his last start, on April 8 against Oakland. His 12 strikeouts in that game tied an American League record for a pitcher in one of his first two games; the other two were Elmer Myers of the 1915 Philadelphia A's and Tim Fortugno of the 1992 Angels.

Of the 45 batters Ohtani has faced this season, only six have reached base.

In each of his seven starts as the Angels' DH, Ohtani has had at least one hit. He set an Angels' franchise record with 16 total bases and seven RBI in his first four career games. He is the first player with two pitching wins and three home runs in his team's first 10 games of a season since Jim Shaw of the 1919 Senators.

Ohtani has 11 RBI in the first eight games of his career. Only three players in history have had more: Dale Alexander (14, 1929 Tigers), Mitchell Page (13, 1977 A's), and Alvin Davis (12, 1984 Mariners).

Ohtani is hitting .367/.424/.767 for an OPS of 1.191. He does not have enough plate appearances to qualify among MLB's leaders, but his slugging is 64 points higher than Ozzie Albies's .703 and his OPS is 48 points higher than Bryce Harper's 1.143.

Likewise, his WHIP is 0.467, which dwarfs the MLB-best 0.629 posted by Jose Berrios of the Twins.

Some Ohtani-related reading material:

Jay Jaffe, FanGraphs, April 6: Shohei Ohtani and Beyond: a History of Double-Duty Players
[S]ince the inception of the American League in 1901, 20 players pitched at least 15 times in a season and played a position (besides pinch-hitter) at least 15 times as well; four of them did so twice. Fifteen of those 24 player-seasons predated Ruth, with all but one of those falling between 1901-1909. Only two have occurred since the start of World War II ...

We’ve grappled with other ways of looking at players who have spent time as both pitchers and hitters, but we’re really in uncharted territory with Ohtani.
Mike Duncan, The Hardball Times, April 11: Shohei Ohtani, The Bambino, and Bullet Joe
One might still walk away [from reading Jaffe's article] believing that Ruth was the last great two-way player. But this is not true. Long after Ruth committed full time to hitting, there remained a wealth of phenomenal two-way players accomplishing phenomenal two-way feats.

They can't be found in the major league baseball records because they were not allowed to play major league baseball. I speak of the black and Latino stars of the Negro Leagues. ... Four in particular stand out as all time greats: Bullet Rogan, Martín Dihigo, Double-Duty Radcliffe and Leon Day. Ohtani's arrival is the perfect opportunity to look back at their spectacular careers, both to put Ohtani's accomplishments in more complete historical context and to celebrate the undisputed, but often forgotten, greatness of these legendary players.

No comments: