|Ohtani-Tanaka pitching matchup falls apart, for now|
NEW YORK -- At least one part of the matchup between Shohei Ohtani and Masahiro Tanaka will occur.
Just not the one many were hoping to see.
Instead of pitching against Tanaka, Ohtani is expected to hit against his fellow Japanese countryman Sunday afternoon in the finale of the three-game series between the Los Angeles Angels and New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
Five of Ohtani's first seven starts have occurred on Sundays and it was expected he would start against the Yankees. Before the Angels won Thursday afternoon in Toronto, manager Mike Scioscia in conjunction with general manager Billy Eppler said Ohtani would not start due to "workload management."
"It's just workload management," Scioscia reiterated before Friday's game. "He's done this in Japan where he's been pushed back sometimes 10, 12 13 days. He has a lot on his plate, hitting and pitching, and Billy Eppler and our medical staff are very conscious of the fact of pacing him and this comes from a workload management aspect."
Ohtani's workload so far has consisted of 40 1/3 innings and 101 at-bats. He threw a bullpen session before Saturday's game and likely will pitch when the Angels visit Detroit after leaving New York.
Ohtani was limited to 25 1/3 innings in his final season with the Nippon-Ham Fighters and never exceeded 160 2/3 innings in five seasons in Japan.
"Not so disappointed because I have a pretty good chance of facing him as a hitter," Ohtani said through an interpreter. "Either way, I'll get to face him. Down the road, I'll probably have a chance to face him as a pitcher, also, so I just need to focus on my next game and not think too far ahead."
He went 0-for-11 in 2013 against Tanaka. Tanaka was 24-0 in 2013 for the Rakuten Golden Eagles and then signed with the Yankees.
"It was becoming a big thing, facing each other," Tanaka said through his interpreter. "That going away maybe spoils it for the fans a little bit, but I'll probably face him as a batter, so I just have to go out there and do my thing and try to get him out."
Of course, Tanaka has other concerns besides his fellow countryman. Among them -- getting Mike Trout out.
Trout went 5-for-5 with four RBIs as the Angels evened the series with an 11-4 win on Saturday. He raised his average to .309, is 8-for-13 in his last five games and has homered in three straight games for the second time this season and fifth time in his career.
"He had a night that was incredible and is certainly capable of doing," Scioscia said.
After his first career five-hit game, Trout is batting .389 (28-for-72) with seven homers and 16 RBIs in 19 career games at Yankee Stadium.
Tanaka is 5-2 with a 4.95 ERA and has allowed 11 homers in his first 10 starts.
Tanaka gave up a three-run homer to Rougned Odor and a solo shot to Joey Gallo on Monday when he allowed four runs and three hits in five innings during a 10-5 win at Texas.
Tanaka is 2-0 with a 1.60 ERA in five career starts against the Angels. He did not face Ohtani April 29 in Anaheim when he allowed one run on two hits in six innings in a 2-1 win.
Instead of Ohtani, Garrett Richards will start for the Angels. He is 0-4 with an 8.10 ERA in six career appearances (five starts) against the Yankees. It's his highest ERA against any opponent.
Richards faced the Yankees and allowed nine runs (five earned) in 1 2/3 innings in a 10-1 loss on April 28. He gave up five runs in the first inning and has allowed 14 runs in the first inning against the Yankees.
Richards last pitched Tuesday in Toronto when he allowed five runs (one earned) and six hits in five innings.