KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It is Sunday, so it must be Shohei Ohtani time in the Los Angeles Angels rotation.
Ohtani, the two-way Japanese star, will make his third major league start and all of them are on Sundays. He took a no-hitter into the seventh inning last Sunday in beating Oakland. He allowed one hit, walked one and struck out a dozen over seven scoreless innings.
Ohtani will face a Kansas City Royals‘ offense that is last in the American League in runs scored.
And the forecast for Sunday is anything but baseball weather. It will be in the 30s with blustery 20 mile per hour northwest winds making it seem even colder.
Does freezing weather favor the pitcher or the batter?
“You can probably argue both sides of it,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “You’re always concerned with grip when you’re a pitcher. When you’re a hitter, if you don’t hit the ball on the barrel you feel it a lot more.
“We’re going to play and my guys are ready. You’re going to play this game in a lot of different situations over the course of a season. Some days it’s going to be 103 and some days it’s going to be 33. That’s just what you deal with. Our guys are going to be ready.”
Ohtani said he does not remember the last time he played in a game when it was that cold, but said he grew up in cold weather.
“Playing a game like that, I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced that cold,” Ohtani said.
After allowing a home run to Matt Chapman in his first start, Ohtani has retired 35 of the last 38 batters he has faced — one hit and two walks.
He is trying to become the first Angels starter to win his first three starts since Jered Weaver in 2006.
Royals left-hander Eric Skoglund started his career off with a bang. He threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings in a 1-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers and Justin Verlander last May 30. Skoglund has not won since.
In his first start this season, he lost 8-3 to Seattle on Tuesday. Skoglund gave up five runs on six hits, two walks and hit three hit batters over 4 2/3 innings, while striking out one. It was Skoglund’s first work in 23 days.
Skoglund is 1-2 with a 6.35 ERA in four career starts and one relief appearance at Kauffman Stadium. He will try to end the Royals’ five-game losing skid.
Snow was falling at the end of the Angels’ 5-3 victory on Saturday night, but the two teams played through it.
“It’s an out-of-division series and you have to try to get them in,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “If you don’t get them in, then somebody is coming back in on an off-day and nobody wants that. You try to get through it.”
At least the Royals won’t have to deal with Ohtani the batter Sunday. He is 11-for-30 with three home runs and 11 RBIs as the designated hitter this season.