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Arizona Diamondbacks pitchers’ performance against Shohei Ohtani

Sep 30, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels two-way player Shohei Ohtani (17) in the dugout during the game against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

Next season, the Arizona Diamondbacks will face the Los Angeles Dodgers 13 times, which means Arizona pitchers will be faced with the daunting task of throwing to Shohei Ohtani in 13 different games.

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The $700 million man was named MVP for the 2nd time in his career last season. He did this by leading the American League in home runs, SLG, OPS, and total bases, while also being one of the more dominant pitchers on the mound.

But how have Diamondbacks pitchers fared against Ohtani?

Well, actually pretty good in the limited experience they have against him.

For starters, Zac Gallen has faced Ohtani once, and it came on July 2nd last season. During this outing, Gallen struck out Shohei twice, leaving him hitless in three at-bats.

Next up is Merrill Kelly, who has recently made an argument for becoming the Diamondbacks’ ace based on his performance down the stretch in 2023. Gallen has also only faced Ohtani in one game, holding the two-time MVP to a 1-3 night. Ohtani also pitched during this game.

Tommy Henry, who was 4th in the Diamondbacks rotation, did not quite have the same luck. Ohtani drew a walk in his first at-bat, grounded out in his 2nd, then hit a towering solo home run in his 3rd. This home run broke Henry’s 5-inning shutout start.

Shifting to someone that has plenty more experience against Ohtani, Eduardo Rodriguez, who the Diamondbacks acquired last week, has pitched exceptionally well when pitching against Shohei.

Across five different games, Rodriguez has held Ohtani to just 2 hits in 11 at-bats. He also grabbed five strikeouts in these plate appearances.

Of course, past results do not always indicate future performance, but, at the very least, the Diamondbacks main group of starting arms have proven that it is indeed possible to shut down the best hitter in baseball.

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