LEADING OFF: Ohtani HR streak, icy Target Field, Yanks hurt
A look at what’s happening all around baseball today:
WELCOME TO THE SHO
Shohei Ohtani isn’t scheduled to be in the starting lineup for the Los Angeles Angels, a day after the two-way sensation from Japan hit a home run for the third straight game. He is set to make his second major league start on Sunday vs. the Athletics — he pitched against them last weekend and earned the win.
Ohtani homered at home Friday night against Oakland, launching a shot estimated at 449 feet. The 23-year-old connected his first time up, batting eighth as the designated hitter.
In a season already full of frigid weather, the gametime temperature at Target Field was supposed to be around 26 degrees when Minnesota hosted Seattle. And the forecast called for snow on Sunday.
The coldest record temperature for the first pitch of a major league game was 23 degrees in 2013 when Atlanta played at Colorado. Those same teams met Friday at Coors Field and, after a one-hour delay because of snow and sleet, it was 27 degrees at the start.
Ozzie Albies, who’s from Curacao, homered for Atlanta in an 8-3 win.
“It was my first time seeing snow. I was excited,” he said. “I was acting like a little kid out there. I put the barrel on the ball. That was awesome.”
The Yankees will see how everyone is feeling after four players were forced to make early exits Friday. Starter CC Sabathia left with hip soreness, star catcher Gary Sanchez limped off with a leg cramp, third baseman Brandon Drury was lifted for migraines and second baseman Tyler Wade was removed because of flu-like symptoms.
BACK TO WORK
The Nationals have lost three in a row, including losses by aces Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, and have been outscored by a combined 28-9 during the slide. Gio Gonzalez and the NL East champs will try to break the skid when they host Steven Matz and the Mets.
Washington, which opened 4-0, was off Friday. That was fine by rookie manager Dave Martinez.
“Last three games, not so good. First four games, really good,” Martinez said. “They get a day off, they get refreshed, and then there’s a whole lot more baseball left.”
Mike Napoli hit a grand slam in his first game of the season, playing for Triple-A Columbus on Friday. At 36, the slugger rejoined Cleveland in spring training, signing as a free agent. The Indians like his positive influence on the Indians’ young players and, maybe, might provide a power bat in the majors later this year.