Part One of Two Moura on baseball

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Pedro Moura is one of the nation’s best and most thorough baseball writers, who covers the Dodgers and Angels for TheAthletic.com, an exciting new sports website.

Moura, who has previously worked at the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register and ESPN.com, agreed to an exclusive interview.

Clayton Kershaw, a three-time Cy Young winner has posted a 144-66 record with a 2.36 earned-run average during the regular season for the Dodgers, but is 7-7 with a 4.35 ERA in the playoffs. Is there a reason, I asked? “Some of it has been a product of poor luck, bad innings in situations where he should’ve been pulled from the game,’’ Moura wrote in an email. “I think some of it has been him forcing more duty on himself than he probably should have.”

Pedro Moura on Angel Shohei Ohtani:
…‘he will succeed as either a hitter or a pitcher, but not both.’

Moura, who covered the Angels for two years at the Times,  added: “Few pitchers start on short rest anymore, but Kershaw does. And some of it, I’m sure, is a product of the opposition in the playoffs being better than in the regular season. Kershaw doesn’t face teams like the 2017 Houston Astros often in the regular season.’’

The Angels made a big splash when they signed Japanese free agent and two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani.

Ohtani went four for 32 at the plate and struggled on the mound during spring training.

But the 23-year-old has rebounded, smacking three homers with two wins on the hill including last Sunday’s 6-1 victory over visiting Oakland in which he went seven scoreless innings, allowing one hit, striking out 12 and walking one.

What did Moura, who graduated from USC, envision when he first saw Ohtani?

“I think that Ohtani is supremely talented, but that he will require significant time to adjust to the major leagues. He has had an awful spring training, and it’s difficult for me to expect that to stop immediately. But, in time, I’d guess that he will succeed as either a hitter or a pitcher, but not both,” he said.

Mike Trout has been sensational from the outset and is arguably the best player in baseball.

What does the Angels center fielder and two-time Most Valuable Player do that others don’t?

“Mike Trout is supremely gifted athletically, and he might be even more skilled at focusing his mind on simple thoughts,’’ said Moura of the six-time All-Star. “He does not over-complicate baseball, which I believe is a common problem at the game’s highest level.’’

Is Los Angeles, the second most populated city, still a Dodger town? “Yes, it is,’’ said Moura. “I doubt that will change in my lifetime. Baseball has always held deep familial ties, and those cannot change in a matter of a decade. The Angels have a fine following, but that is concentrated in Orange County.’’

Read part two of the Pedro Moura interview in next week’s issue.

Rick Assad has written about sports for the Pasadena Star-News and Los Angeles Times. Contact him at yankeepride55@gmail.com.

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The Sports Department Rick Assad has written about sports for the Pasadena Star-News and Los Angeles Times. Contact him at richsports5@sbcglobal.net.

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