Yes, it was “Sho Time” for the Los Angeles Angels. Rookie Shoehei Ohtani took to the mound for the first time this season, following up on a Major League debut that saw him get his first career hit on the first pitch he ever saw in a regular season game.
The 23-year-old Ohtani notched his first win as a pitcher by allowing three runs over six innings in the Halos’ 7-4 victory over the A’s.
So far, so good in the Shoehei Ohtani experiment of allowing a player to spent time in the lineup and on the mound on a consistent basis.
Ohtani’s first time pitching to Major League hitters drew quite a crowd as 240 members of the Japanese media packed into the Coliseum on Sunday afternoon for the occasion, while many more tuned in at 5:05 a.m. on Monday to watch the live broadcast back in Japan.
According to ESPN.com’s Maria Guardado, Shoehei Ohtani became the first Major League player to start as a non-pitcher on Opening Day and then start as a pitcher within his team’s first 10 games since Babe Ruth with the Red Sox in 1919.
“Personally, I feel like I’ve gotten off to a good start,” said Ohtani, who went 1-for-5 as a left-handed hitter on Thursday. “Obviously, the team went 3-1 on their first road trip, so very happy with the results.”
Per Guardado, about three hours before Shohei Ohtani took the mound for his first start in the Majors, Mike Trout turned to his Japanese teammate in the Angels’ clubhouse and expressed his excitement about the top prospect’s impending pitching debut.
“Sho time!” Trout said.
Ohtani is expected to help the Angels rotation that has been damaged by injuries even before the season started. He was impressive for a rookie playing against Major League talent. The right-hander gave up just three hits — all in the second inning — including a three-run homer to Matt Chapman.
Ohtani induced 18 swings and misses, a total surpassed by Angels starters only three times last season. Over the past 10 seasons, only Alex Colome of the Rays induced more swings and misses in an MLB debut when he did it 20 times in 2013.