Ohtani dominant on mound, hits go-ahead single for Angels

shohei ohtani
Michael Reaves/Getty Images
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MIAMI ⁠— Shohei Ohtani allowed one unearned run in seven dominant innings and had the go-ahead hit in the Los Angeles Angels’ 5-2 victory over the Miami Marlins on Wednesday night.

The reigning AL MVP won his fifth consecutive start, limiting the Marlins to two hits. Ohtani (8-4) walked three and struck out 10 before 18,741, the fourth largest crowd at loanDepot Park this season.

“I didn’t change much, the most important thing is I made my pitches when I needed to,” Ohtani said through a translator. “I think it’s huge when we’re winning and I’m pitching because I’m part of the ball club.”

Three-time AL MVP Mike Trout was hitless in four at-bats and had an RBI. Trout is 1 for 21 with 13 strikeouts through the first five games of Los Angeles’ nine-game trip.

Max Stassi doubled and reached base three times to help the Angels snap a four-game skid.

During his current stretch of successful outings, Ohtani has an ERA of 0.27 and limited opponents to 16 hits in 33 2/3 innings.

“I’m able to go without any worries on my body, fully healthy,” Ohtani said. “It’s a huge part why I’m pitching well.”

Ohtani’s two-RBI single with the bases loaded chased Miami starter Trevor Rogers (4-7) and capped a three-run fifth that put Los Angeles ahead 3-1.

“He’s one of the better arms in baseball, and then you’re going to see him at the plate same day, too,” Stassi said about Ohtani. “He’s a superstar pitcher and he’s a superstar hitter.”

Trout was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, tying it at 1. The 96 mph fastball from Rogers struck Trout on his left knee. Trout limped to first base, where Angels training staff tended to him.

Run-scoring singles from Taylor Ward and Luis Rengifo in the seventh padded the Angels’ lead.

“Up and down the lineup we had guys sacrificing themselves, putting the ball in play,” Angels acting manager Ray Montgomery said. “We’ve talked endlessly about strikeouts, contact. I don’t think we did anything differently, I think we had better at bats.”

The loss snapped the Marlins’ six-game winning streak.

Rogers allowed three runs, four hits, walked two, struck out five and hit two batters in 4 2/3 innings.

The Marlins struck first on Garrett Cooper‘s sacrifice fly in the first that ended Ohtani’s scoreless string at 21 2/3 innings. Leadoff hitter Jon Berti reached on shortstop Luis Rengifo’s throwing error and advanced on Joey Wendle‘s double.

“When you get one in the first, you feel good about it but with a guy like (Ohtani) as the game goes, he gets better and better,” Miami manager Don Mattingly said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Angels: RHP Austin Warren (right triceps strain) was scheduled to appear in a rehab assignment at Triple-A Salt Lake Wednesday. The next step is to pitch on consecutive days.

Marlins: RHP Edward Cabrera (right elbow tendinitis) threw a 25-pitch bullpen session Tuesday with another scheduled for Thursday. … RHP Cody Poteet (right elbow muscle injury) threw two innings in his rehab assignment with Class-A Jupiter Monday. His next appearance will be determined.

UP NEXT

Angels: RHP Chase Chiselth (1-2, 5.23) will start Thursday as the club begins the final leg of a three-city road set at Baltimore.

Marlins: LHP Daniel Castano (1-1, 2.47) will start the opener of a four-game series at NL East-leading New York Mets Thursday.

Texas Rangers ink free-agent ace Jacob deGrom to 5-year deal

Jacob deGrom
USA Today
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Jacob deGrom is headed to the free-spending Texas Rangers, who believe the health risk is worth the potential reward in trying to end a six-year run of losing.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner agreed to a $185 million, five-year contract Friday, leaving the New York Mets after nine seasons – the past two shortened substantially by injuries.

“We acknowledge the risk, but we also acknowledge that in order to get great players, there is a risk and a cost associated with that,” Rangers general manager Chris Young said. “And one we feel like is worth taking with a player of Jacob’s caliber.”

Texas announced the signing after the 34-year-old deGrom passed his physical. A person with direct knowledge of the deal disclosed the financial terms to The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the club did not announce those details.

The Rangers were also big spenders in free agency last offseason, signing shortstop Corey Seager ($325 million, 10 years) and second baseman Marcus Semien ($175 million, seven years).

The team said deGrom will be introduced in a news conference at Globe Life Field next week following the winter meetings in San Diego.

“It fits in so many ways in terms of what we need,” Young said. “He’s a tremendous person. I have a number of close friends and teammates who played with Jacob and love him. I think he’s going to be just a perfect fit for our clubhouse and our fans.”

Texas had modest expectations after adding Seager, Semien and starter Jon Gray ($56 million, four years) last offseason but still fell short of them.

The Rangers went 68-94, firing manager Chris Woodward during the season, and then hired Bruce Bochy, a three-time World Series champion with San Francisco. Texas’ six straight losing seasons are its worst skid since the franchise moved from Washington in 1972.

Rangers owner Ray Davis said the club wouldn’t hesitate to keep adding payroll. Including the $19.65 million qualifying offer accepted by Martin Perez, the team’s best pitcher last season, the Rangers have spent nearly $761 million in free agency over the past year.

“I hate losing, but I think there’s one person in our organization who hates losing worse than me, and I think it’s Ray Davis,” Young said. “He’s tired of losing. I’m tired of losing. Our organization is tired of losing.”

After making his first start in early August last season, deGrom went 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 11 outings. He helped the Mets reach the playoffs, then passed up a $30.5 million salary for 2023 and opted out of his contract to become a free agent for the first time.

That ended his deal with the Mets at $107 million over four years, and deGrom rejected their $19.65 million qualifying offer in November. New York will receive draft-pick compensation for losing him.

The fan favorite becomes the latest in a long line of ace pitchers to leave the Mets for one reason or another, including Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and David Cone.

The Rangers visit Citi Field from Aug. 28-30.

When healthy, deGrom is perhaps baseball’s most dominant pitcher. His 2.52 career ERA ranks third in the expansion era (since 1961) behind Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw (2.48) and Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax (2.19) among those with at least 200 starts.

The right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.90 ERA in five career postseason starts, including a win over San Diego in the wild-card round this year that extended the Mets’ season. New York was eliminated the next night.

A four-time All-Star and the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year, deGrom was a ninth-round draft pick by the Mets in 2010 out of Stetson, where he played shortstop before moving to the mound. He was slowed by Tommy John surgery early in his career and didn’t reach the majors until age 26.

Once he arrived, though, he blossomed. He helped the Mets reach the 2015 World Series and earn a 2016 playoff berth before winning consecutive NL Cy Young Awards in 2018 and 2019.

But injuries to his elbow, forearm and shoulder blade have limited him to 26 starts over the past two seasons. He compiled a career-low 1.08 ERA over 92 innings in 2021, but did not pitch after July 7 that year because of arm trouble.

DeGrom is 82-57 with 1,607 strikeouts in 1,326 innings over nine big league seasons. He gets $30 million next year, $40 million in 2024 and 2025, $38 million in 2026 and $37 million in 2027. The deal includes a conditional option for 2028 with no guaranteed money.

The addition of deGrom gives the Rangers three proven starters along with Gray and Perez, who went 12-8 with a career-best 2.89 ERA in his return to the team that signed him as a teenager out of Venezuela. Young didn’t rule out the addition of another starter.

With several holes on their starting staff, the Mets have shown interest in free agents Justin Verlander and Carlos Rodon to pair with 38-year-old Max Scherzer atop the rotation.

Now, with deGrom gone, signing one of those two could become a much bigger priority.