The Los Angeles Angels let Shohei Ohtani throw 111 pitches in just his second start of the season, per Alden Gonzalez. The decision was surprising to say the least, even considering the fact that Ohtani pitched in the World Baseball Classic.
Ohtani pitched well for the most part against the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday, allowing just one run over six innings. He surrendered four walks in the outing though, which sky-rocketed his pitch count.
Pitchers are often limited to around 85-90 pitches during their first few starts of a season. They are typically still building up strength for the full 162-game campaign. As the season continues on, pitchers begin throwing around 100 pitches in their starts, but teams are often hesitant to let them surpass that mark on a consistent basis. So letting Shohei Ohtani, who's the most valuable all-around player in baseball, throw 111 pitches only one week into the season is a shocking move.
The Angels are doing everything they can to compete in 2023. Shohei Ohtani wants to win and is set to hit free agency following the year. If the Angels fail to make the playoffs once again, Ohtani will likely leave during the offseason. If the Halos find a way to reach the postseason, however, then perhaps Shohei Ohtani may consider staying in Anaheim.
One would imagine that the Angels' decision to let Ohtani throw 111 pitches is centered around their strong desire to compete. Nevertheless, it will lead to a number of questions. It will be interesting to see what Angels' manager Phil Nevin has to say about the decision following the game.