Sunday, March 5, 2023

Card Of The Week March 5

Shintaro Fujinami made his first spring training start for the Athletics last Tuesday in Mesa, Arizona and, wouldn't you know it, there was a familiar face on the mound for the opposing Angels - Shohei Ohtani.  Both starters pitched decently - Fujinami struck out three, walked three and gave up one hit but no runs in two innings of work while Ohtani struck out two, walked two and didn't allow a hit or a run in 2 1/3 innings.  Ohtani did not bat in the game so the two did not go head-to-head.  Both pitchers were long gone before the Angels' offense started teeing off on Oakland's relievers in route to an 11-5 victory.

This, of course, was not the first time these two had faced each other as professionals.  That was on May 26th, 2013 when Fujinami was a rookie with the Hanshin Tigers and Ohtani was a rookie with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters.  I'm cheating a little here because Ohtani didn't pitch that day - this was back when the Fighters were still playing him in the field and he started in right field that day.  (And keep in mind that this was an interleague game played at Koshien so there was no DH.)  Ohtani hit two doubles off of Fujinami but Fujinami had the last laugh as he pitched seven innings and picked up the win in the Tigers' 7-1 victory.

Here's a card highlighting this game from the 2016 BBM "Go Higher" box set (#5):

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