One of many many delights of the World Baseball Basic is that it usually gives matchups that in any other case would go unseen. From an American perspective, usually these are between gamers who’re longtime teammates in Main League Baseball. To wit, essentially the most intriguing “forbidden fruit” matchup this WBC was the potential of Shohei Ohtani pitching to Mike Trout, his Los Angeles Angels teammate, as a part of a possible late-stage contest between Japan and Group USA.
Sadly, it does not appear like stated matchup might be on the desk — and that isn’t just because Team USA’s blowout loss to Mexico on Sunday harmed their chances of advancing beyond pool play. Relatively, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reported on Sunday that the plan for Ohtani involves him returning to the Angels for an exhibition start on March 24. Stated begin would put him in line to take the ball on March 30, MLB‘s Opening Day.
“That is what I’ve understood,” Angels supervisor Phil Nevin advised Fletcher. “He’ll pitch the quarterfinal sport, then he’d be out there for us that Friday (March 24) once they come again, no matter what occurs. Friday was the day he needed to throw to prepare for Oakland.”
Ohtani, for his half, appeared unaware of the plan when he was requested about Nevin’s feedback. “No, we have not spoken in any respect, so nothing’s determined but,” he told reporters in Japan.
Japan gained Pool B in dominating vogue, successful all 4 contests and by a mean of greater than seven runs. They’re going to subsequent play on March 16, once they tackle Italy, the runner-up in Pool A. One other win would ship Japan to the semifinals, the place they’d go well with up once more on March 20. Alas, Ohtani could be unable to pitch in that sport (or within the championship ultimate) with out compromising the aforementioned plan to have him begin on March 24.
It is potential that plans change, however given the importance MLB teams place on their very own seasons, and given the loaded nature of Japan’s rotation — in addition they have Yu Darvish, Roki Sasaki, and Yoshinobu Yamamoto — the chances seem like very a lot towards Ohtani pitching to Trout this March.
Now, with that established, we really feel obligated to notice that the dream won’t be achieved for that matchup taking place someday this yr. In spite of everything, the Angels are scheduled to play the New York Mets (however not the Los Angeles Dodgers) in August, effectively after the commerce deadline. Should the Angels fall out of contention by late July, it is not less than potential that Ohtani and Trout will discover themselves clashing, albeit with the previous sporting new threads.