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A jarring situation happened during the ninth inning of the Angels-Blue Jays battle in Toronto Friday evening. It was a 4-1 Jays lead and the Angels loaded the bases with Shohei Ohtani’s spot in the order coming to the plate. High drama! Must-watch TV! Instead of the best player in the world, the Angels sent pinch hitter Michael Stafanic to the plate. It felt like even the Blue Jays fans in attendance were disappointed, albeit mostly relieved. 

The Blue Jays would win, 4-1. The only run the Angels scored was a solo home run from, yep, Ohtani. 

Obviously, there’s no way in the world the Angels would pinch hit for Ohtani in such a spot unless it was due to injury or illness. In this case, the physical issue doesn’t sound like one of the most serious injuries. Ohtani was dealing with cramping in both legs, per the Angels (via Jeff Fletcher). The Angels haven’t ruled out a potential injured list stint for Ohtani or anything, but it’s unlikely cramps would require anything of the sort. 

Losing Ohtani for any amount of time would be a crushing blow to the Angels’ playoff hopes. They are now four games back of the third AL wild-card spot.

Ohtani is hitting .301/.396/.681 with 16 doubles, seven triples, 39 homers, 81 RBI, 80 runs and 12 stolen bases in 102 games as an offensive player. In 20 starts as a pitcher, he’s 9-5 with a 3.43 ERA (130 ERA+), 1.07 WHIP and 156 strikeouts in 120 2/3 innings. 

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