Dodgers News: Shohei Ohtani ‘Seeing The Ball Well’ But Having Issue With Timing

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The Los Angeles Dodgers have had a strong start to the season on offense, and a lot of their production has come without the superstar level performance they expect from Shohei Ohtani.

So far in 2024, Ohtani is hitting .273/.320/.318 in five games with his new club, producing only one extra-base hit — a double — in 22 at-bats. On Saturday, he went 1-for-5 with two strikeouts.

Ohtani had a chance to win or tie the game with the bases loaded in the 10th inning, but he ended up with a short fly ball, securing a 6-5 victory for the St Louis Cardinals. It was the second key moment of the game that he failed to capitalize on his opportunity.

However, there’s reason for optimism that Ohtani will break out of his funk soon, aside from his obvious talent. The two-time MVP is confident he’s seeing the ball well, and it’s just coming down to a timing issue, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:

“I feel like I’m seeing the ball well, but I feel like there’s a little bit something off with my timing and being able to kind of feel the distance between the ball and myself,” said Ohtani.

“I saw the ball well (in that last at-bat) and I thought I hit it well but it ended up being a pop fly. Something to do with my timing and just the distance I feel between myself and the ball.”

Timing issues tend to be easier to correct than mechanical, mental or vision trouble, so Ohtani should be back on track fairly soon.

The greater concern would be if his off-the-field legal issues are affecting performance. Ippei Mizuhara, Ohtani’s former interpreter who was fired for allegedly stealing millions from the superstar, is still under investigation both by the Internal Revenue Service and MLB.

Ohtani is cooperating with the investigation, which could serve as somewhat of a distraction, but there’s also likely emotional pain from the situation as well. Mizuhara was one of Ohtani’s closest friends and someone he trusted closely, and Ohtani expressed that he was shocked and saddened by Mizuhara’s actions.

The Dodgers and Ohtani have both expressed their belief that has not and will not affect his on-field performance. Still, it will be a lingering question until the situation is settled or Ohtani breaks out of his slump.

Shohei Ohtani grateful for support from Dodgers fans

Ohtani has received lots of cheers from Dodgers fans, and that has continued throughout the week at Dodger Stadium, most specifically in his introduction and first at-bat on Opening Day.

“Very grateful,” Ohtani said about the fans. “Now as part of the Dodgers, being able to be received by Dodgers fans, obviously I’ve been here before as an opposing player, which was a little intimidating. I’m very grateful for all the fans. There were a lot of them.”

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