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Ohtani not pitching in Toronto disappoints fans | Globalnews.ca

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TORONTO – For months Cory Gosselin was looking forward to seeing Shohei Ohtani, a generational baseball talent, pitch in person.

But the quirks of the Los Angeles Angels schedule saw Ohtani pitch in the day game of a doubleheader in Detroit on Thursday, meaning he won’t take the mound on Friday at Toronto’s Rogers Centre and might not play at all in the first game of their three-game set.

“I’ve tried to get tickets to see Shohei for the last few years and for whatever reason, couldn’t make it,” said Gosselin, who bought tickets for Friday’s game months ago after learning that a friend’s father would be visiting Canada from France for the first time.

Gosselin had told his friend that with the schedule lining up to have Ohtani pitch it was the best-case scenario for the father’s first-ever Major League Baseball game.

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“It was pretty, pretty exciting that it worked out, or it was going to work out, but it sucks now that he might not even play,” he said.

Ohtani signed with the Angels in December 2017, jumping from Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball. The 29-year-old is unique in the modern sport of baseball because he can pitch and hit at the highest levels, a talent not seen since all-time great Babe Ruth.

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The 2021 American League Most Valuable Player pitched a complete game, one-hit shutout with eight strikeouts on Thursday afternoon as Los Angeles beat the Tigers 6-0. He then had a home run in the evening game of the doubleheader.

Ohtani has a 9-5 record with a 3.43 earned-run average so far this season with 156 strikeouts. At the plate, Ohtani is a .297 hitter with 37 home runs, 79 runs batted in and 12 stolen bases.

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Because Ohtani plays so much he only pitches every six games.

Originally scheduled to play in Toronto on Friday, a rainout on Wednesday at Detroit’s Comerica Park forced the Tigers and Angels to play a doubleheader on Thursday, moving Ohtani’s start up a day. Playing twice in one day also makes it more likely that Ohtani will get a day off on Friday.

“I had checked a couple of weeks ago, you know, counted ahead, and he was going to be pitching tomorrow and that was very exciting,” said Gosselin on Thursday afternoon. “And then I saw last night that he was pitching in the doubleheader instead.”

Gosselin was not alone in his disappointment.

“Wow. I heard that secondary market tickets were selling for high prices for his start on Friday. Hopefully someone didn’t spend a fortune on them. Still get to see him hit though but damn!!” said one Twitter user when Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith announced that Ohtani would not take the mound at Rogers Centre.

Another poster said he spent $140 to watch Ohtani pitch.

“I have row four tickets and I couldn’t be more bummed,” said another.

Ohtani had been rumoured to be on the trade market — with the Blue Jays a potential destination — as Major League Baseball’s deadline on Aug. 1 approached. But the Angels signalled on Wednesday that they’d be pushing for the playoffs when they traded for right-handed pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez from the Chicago White Sox.

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That made Gosselin question the decision to start Ohtani in Detroit instead of Toronto even more as the Tigers are well out of the post-season hunt. The Blue Jays hold the third and final wild-card spot in the American League, a berth Los Angeles is trying to earn its way into, making the series in Toronto more significant for the AL’s post-season picture.

“What blows my mind is that they are keeping him to make a playoff run so why switch it so that he doesn’t play the better team?” said Gosselin. “Let’s face it, Detroit’s probably an easy win, right? Or they should be an easy win.

“So why not have Shohei go tomorrow against the better team and get an important win.”

Instead, Giolito (6-6) will make his Angels debut in Rogers Centre against Blue Jays ace Kevin Gausman (7-5). Toronto had Thursday off.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 27, 2023.

&copy 2023 The Canadian Press



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