Shohei Ohtani exits start in 2nd inning after developing blister on pitching hand

Shohei Ohtani’s meteoric rise finally hit an obstacle Tuesday, as the Japanese right-hander struggled on the mound before leaving after two innings due to a blister on his pitching hand.

Ohtani entered Tuesday’s game with a 2.08 ERA and 18 strikeouts in two career starts, both against the Athletics, but he clearly wasn’t the same against the Red Sox early. The two-way phenom allowed four hits and three earned runs in two innings, striking out one and walking two. Ohtani did not come out for a third inning, as the Angels announced he had developed a blister on his pitching hand.

While Ohtani was still bringing his trademark velocity–topping out at 99.8 mph according to Statcast numbers from Baseball Savant–his command of his secondary pitches was nowhere near where it was in his first two starts.

Our first clue that it wasn’t quite Ohtani’s night came early, when Mookie Betts took him deep to open the game. It got a little better from there, but not much. Ohtani got through the rest of the first inning without much trouble, but a rally in the second inning tacked on a couple more runs and served as the end of Ohtani’s night.

As opinions continue to fly around Ohtani and just how good he might be, Tuesday’s game will likely not be a significant piece of evidence either way. Pitchers underperforming in games due to blisters is a problem that came to MLB well before Ohtani, whose hand might not even be used to the MLB ball after a young lifetime in Japan.

See photos from Ohtani's start: 

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Shohei Ohtani gets rocked in third start for Angels
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Shohei Ohtani gets rocked in third start for Angels
ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 17: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim greets teammates prior to a game against the Boston Red Sox at Angel Stadium on April 17, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 17: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches during the first inning of a game against the Boston Red Sox at Angel Stadium on April 17, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 17: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches during the second inning of a game against the Boston Red Sox at Angel Stadium on April 17, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 17: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox is congratulated by J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox after hitting a solo homerun during the first inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium on April 17, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 17: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim looks at the ball during the second inning of a game at bat at Angel Stadium on April 17, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 17: Andrelton Simmons #2 , Martin Maldonado #12, and Charles Nagy #41 talk with Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the second inning of a game against the Boston Red Sox at Angel Stadium on April 17, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 17: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim looks on during the second inning of a game against the Boston Red Sox at Angel Stadium on April 17, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 17: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim looks on during the second inning of a game against the Boston Red Sox at Angel Stadium on April 17, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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