Team Japan and Los Angeles Angels starter Shohei Ohtani is trying to do everything in his power to help his country win the World Baseball Classic.
He started his last game on March 16, covering 4.2 solid innings against Italy in the quarterfinals and using 71 pitches to do it.
Now that his nation has made it to the championship game, he wants to be part of the pitching plan.
Shota Imanaga will start, and San Diego Padres ace Yu Darvish will also be a factor from the bullpen.
Ohtani doesn’t want to be left out, though.
Will the Angels let him pitch?
According to insider Jeff Fletcher, they were already planning on doing so, even before Japan made it to the final game.
“Phil Nevin said they had accounted all along for Ohtani possibly pitching one inning tonight. If he does, he would still pitch Friday in AZ (although maybe in a minor league game) and start on Opening Day,” Fletcher tweeted.
Phil Nevin said they had accounted all along for Ohtani possibly pitching one inning tonight. If he does, he would still pitch Friday in AZ (although maybe in a minor league game) and start on Opening Day. #Angels
— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) March 21, 2023
So, yes: unless the game is a blowout, you can pretty much expect Ohtani to be out there on the mound.
If he participates against the United States, it will be for just one inning, but that’s definitely better than nothing.
Besides, he will still be a fixture in the lineup as he has been all tournament long.
Ohtani has a home runs, eight RBI, nine runs, and a 1.421 OPS.
On the mound, he has a solid 2.08 ERA in 8.2 frames, with a 1/10 BB/K ratio and a 0.69 WHIP.
He was made for games like the one on Tuesday, so the Angels aren’t going to stand in the way if he feels he can help his country from the mound in addition to his contributions as a hitter.NEXT: The MLB World Will Witness A Legendary Matchup Tuesday