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The Seattle Mariners might have caught a break during the American League wild card race.
Joe Maddon, Los Angeles Angels manager, said that Shohei Ohtani would not be making his scheduled start against the Mariners on Sunday. The potential American League MVP winner will instead only play in the remaining games of the season. This decision was reached jointly by the player and the team.
The Angels are now 74-83 and out of postseason contention.
Maddon stated to reporters that he had finished the year with two strong performances. "There is really nothing to lose right now."
Ohtani was the starter in last Sunday's game against Texas Rangers. He allowed one earned run and five hits, while striking out 10 over seven innings. After giving up five earned runs and five hit with 10 strikeouts against the Oakland Athletics, Ohtani's last start won.
The two-way star ends the season with a 3.18 ERA and 1.09 WHIP, as well as 156 strikeouts over 130.1 innings. This was an impressive season, especially considering that he didn’t pitch in 2019 and only made two starts in the shorter 2020 campaign.
Ohtani will now focus on improving his already impressive offensive numbers. He has slashed.256/.370/.592 and 45 home runs, with 98 RBI and 24 stolen base.
This decision has the biggest impact on the Mariners. The Mariners are now just half-game behind Boston Red Sox in the American League wild-card race and no longer have to worry about facing one the best pitchers of the league in their final regular-season contest.
Los Angeles could potentially be in the final playoff spot, and Los Angeles may try to play spoiler with Ohtani off the mound.