Although the biggest question surrounding Los Angeles Angels' Shohei Ohtani is where he will be after the Aug. 1 MLB trade deadline, fans and teams have been forced to shift their focus to his recent injury and subsequent struggles on the mound.

Ohtani's first start out of the All-Star break was disconcertingly similar to his last one, both seemingly hindered by a nagging middle finger blister. He gave up four earned runs and walked three batters in five innings against the Houston Astros before again being pulled early. The Angels could not bail their star out and lost their sixth-straight game Friday night, 7-5.

The 45-47 club is six games out of a postseason slot and is now forced to answer pressing questions about the future. Their manager's biggest concern, though, is making sure Ohtani is healthy and immediately regains top pitching form.

“Phil Nevin said he anticipates Shohei Ohtani making his next start (Friday vs Pittsburgh), but they will continue checking on his blister,” the Orange County Register's Jeff Fletcher tweeted. That is obviously encouraging news, but a showdown with the Pittsburgh Pirates next Friday is still quite a ways off. Hopefully, any further setbacks can be avoided.

The 29-year-old will continue to bring an imposing presence at the plate, but LA is dependent on him to pitch as well. The team lacks depth in their rotation and never seems to find a solution. The problems extend throughout the clubhouse, though, as defensive miscues and missed opportunities on offense ensured that Ohtani got charged with the loss against the Astros.

Still, he is clearly not at his best. The Angels do not want to push the 2021 MVP beyond his limits, but they are running out of time. If this dreadful run continues for the team, then Ohtani injury speculation will soon be supplanted by Ohtani trade speculation once again. Either way, this organization could be in for a grueling summer.