Cubs beat Angels behind three-run ninth inning The controlled “B game” environment allowed the Angels to dictate Ohtani’s pitch count, tone down the atmosphere, and give him a lineup of relatively inexperienced opponents. The second inning ended after Ohtani threw 20 pitches and recorded only two outs. Friday’s results won’t count toward his official spring training stat line and should be taken with a grain of salt.Still, Ohtani left a better impression than in his Angels pitching debut last Saturday. Scouts clocked his fastball in the range of 92 to 96 mph. His secondary pitches – a curveball, slider and split-finger fastball – deceived hitters with late, sharp movement.“Everything for a strike,” said Rene Rivera, the veteran catcher who caught Ohtani. “When he needed to throw a ball, he was throwing a ball. His slider was nuts today.“That slider, you see the hitters jumping back thinking it’s going to hit them and the ball was right on the corner.”Before the game, Rivera said he and Ohtani discussed some of the differences between the Japanese and American brands of baseball. The mound is different here, Rivera said. So is the surface of the baseball. In Japan, Ohtani said he had at least one day off each week.“There are no off-days here,” he said. “That’s probably the biggest difference.”Added together, these small adjustments amount to a major transition. The Angels expect tangible progress between now and the regular season, which begins March 29. But with the club carefully protecting Ohtani’s workload – especially after a season in which injuries limited him to 25⅓ innings pitching for the Nippon Ham Fighters – his progress will be measured in glimpses.Ohtani’s next appearance in a game figures to come as the Angels’ designated hitter. Manager Mike Scioscia said “it’ll be a couple days” before that happens.As is always the case when Ohtani pitches, the media followed. With his transition on the field ostensibly going well, Ohtani was asked about his off-the-field transition to life in the United States.“It’s starting to feel like home now a little bit,” he said. Whicker: MLB’s marooned free agents will be back when it matters PEREZ LOOKING SHARPAngels catcher Carlos Perez got only 321 plate appearances between the majors and Triple-A Salt Lake in 2017. To stay sharp, Perez spent the month of November in the Venezuelan Winter League, where he got another 76 plate appearances and slashed .314/.355/.457.The extra work seems to have carried over to 2018. Perez has four hits, including two doubles, in his first 11 Cactus League plate appearances.Related Articles “He’s still getting into his game behind the plate,” Scioscia said. “It’s early still in spring. As far as the way he’s comfortable in the batter’s box, he’s hitting the ball hard.”Perez, who hit a game-winning home run in his first major league game three years ago, is facing much lower expectations now. Martin Maldonado, Rene Rivera and Juan Graterol have crowded the depth chart at catcher. And since Perez is out of minor-league options, the Angels could have a hard time keeping him in the organization. PHOENIX — The public address system at Maryvale Stadium did not include Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sounds of Silence” on its playlist Friday. It should have. As the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani pitched to nine Milwaukee Brewers minor leaguers in a near-empty park, you could hear every murmur among the ushers, scouts and media. The birds flying overhead were more raucous than the smattering of people below.The Maryvale playlist was more ambitious than ironic. Ohtani warmed up to “Respect” by Aretha Franklin, “Taking Care of Business” by Bachman-Turner Overdrive, and “On Top Of The World” by Imagine Dragons, respectively, before each of his three innings. A few more games like Friday’s, and Ohtani will be on top of the world soon enough.Ohtani struck out eight of the 12 batters he faced in his second competitive pitching appearance. The other four Brewers got hits, and two of them scored. Only one of the four hits would qualify as “hard contact” – a double to the center-field wall by former UC Irvine standout Keston Hiura, who was drafted ninth overall last summer.By the third inning, Ohtani was in total command. He got Tyrone Taylor to swing and miss at a fastball, then used a split-finger fastball in the dirt to retire Hiura swinging. Veteran Nick Franklin watched a slow curveball over the outside corner for strike three on Ohtani’s 52nd and final pitch. “I think I was just getting used to the mound each inning,” he said through an interpreter. “I think that’s why I was best in the third inning.”Ohtani’s adjustment process won’t always be so conspicuous. Even this game wasn’t very conspicuous – unless you were a scout, reporter or photographer. No tickets were sold to the game, and only fans who purchased tickets to the Brewers’ main game later that day were allowed into the park. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
FIVE YEAR OLD BY GAME PLAN EYES $4 MILLION LONGINES BREEDERS’ CUP TURF NOV. 5 ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 2, 2106)–Forwardly placed throughout, California-bred Ashleyluvssugar got a perfect stalking trip under Gary Stevens and went on to an impressive half length win in the Grade II, $200,000 John Henry Turf Championship at Santa Anita. Trained by Peter Eurton, the 5-year-old gelding by Game Plan got 1 ¼ miles on turf in 1:58.35. A gate to wire winner of the Grade II, 1 3/8 miles turf Del Mar Handicap on Aug. 20, “Ashley” notched his second consecutive win and his fourth from seven starts over the Santa Anita lawn.Breaking from post position six in a field of 10 and with the temporary inner rail set at 10 feet, Ashleyluvssugar sat a controlled second to longshot El Huerfano the entire trip until assuming command three sixteenths of a mile from home.“This is his kind of track,” said Eurton. “You gotta think this horse is just full of heart. When he’s healthy like he is right now, he’s great…The six hole helped us out a lot, we got to see what was going on to the inside of us. There was a little bumping going on at the beginning so Gary put him out there wide and it was easier for him to relax.”Owned by his breeders, Sharon Alesia, Bran Jam Stable and Ciaglia Racing, LLC, Ashleyluvssugar was the third choice in the wagering at 3-1 and paid $8.80, $5.00 and $3.40. He now has eight wins from 17 starts and will make his next start in the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (1 ½ miles) at Santa Anita on Nov. 5. (With the John Henry winner’s share of $120,000, he now has earnings of $847,504).“I’m excited about the Breeders’ Cup,” said Stevens. “He’s stepping up in company but he loves a mile and a half. This was pretty easy on him and he was looking for even more room to run pulling up. This was a great race for him. The speed was down on the inside and it set up nicely. He’s better with a horse in front of him. He’s not very big but he’s full of energy, does his job and he loves Santa Anita.”In a three-horse charge for second money, longshot Texas Ryano, with Joe Talamo up, prevailed by a nose over Twentytwentyvision and Flavien Prat.Off at 14-1, Texas Ryano paid $15.80 and $10.00.Twentytwentyvision was a half-length better than 5-2 favorite Metaboss and paid $4.80 to show.Fractions on the race were 23.55, 46.93, 1:10.96 and 1:34.83.