Benches clear after Shohei Ohtani’s high fastball buzzed A’s Mark Canha

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On Friday night in Oakland, two-way Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani took to the mound for his first start in nine days, partly because traffic problems prevented him from leaving on Thursday. Ohtani had a 2.37 ERA with 45 strikeouts in 30 1/3 innings in the series opener with Track & Field (GameTracker).

Things temporarily got a little tense between the two rivals of AL West at the end of the third set. A 93.3 mph fastball escaped Ohtani and thrilled Mark Canha, and Canha was not happy. He started chirping at Ohtani, wide receiver Kurt Suzuki stepped in to protect his pitcher and the benches cleared. Here is the video:

As is often the case with bench clearance incidents, no punches were thrown and there were just a lot of people standing. Both teams retreated to their shelters quickly and in order, in fact. There was clearly no intention on Ohtani’s part, and he patted his chest as if to say “bad” a few times. That said, Canha being upset is understandable. No one likes a fastball near the head.

In the sixth inning, Ohtani put Canha in the back with a fastball at 92.5 mph. Canha immediately took first base and no words were exchanged, and there was a runner on first base without an out in a scoreless game at the time. If Ohtani intentionally punched Canha, now wasn’t the perfect time to do it.

Despite the brilliant ERA and all the strikeouts, insanity has been a problem for Ohtani pretty much all season. He walked 22 batters in 30 1/3 of an inning in his first six starts, and he walked Canha on five pitches to open Friday’s game. The escaping, buzzing Canha pitch was miserable, but it wasn’t exactly unusual for Ohtani this year.

The Angels use a DH on Friday so Ohtani is out of the lineup. He’s hitting .266 / .328 .616 with 15 home runs this season, and its two-way play is the basis for a solid MVP case.


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