Ohtani struck out 12 – and didn’t allow a baserunner through the first 6 1/3 innings – in Sunday’s game against Oakland, notching his second win in as many starts to cap a stretch in which he also poked three home runs in three games.
As a pitcher, Ohtani recorded his 2nd win on Sunday, firing 7 scoreless innings in a victory over the Oakland Athletics.
“I think he’s mature beyond his years”, Angels manager Mike Scioscia told reporters when asked about the right-handed pitcher before Sunday’s game.
Ohtani showed plenty of that talent when he retired the first 19 batters he faced, throwing a ideal game until Marcus Semien lined a fastball into left field for a single with one out in the seventh.
Marcus Semien singled to left field to break up the bid for a flawless game, but the 23-year-old rookie kept his cool and hung in there to eventually get the side out and end the inning in front of a crowd of 44,700.
“Probably my best outing ever was when I was in elementary school”, Ohtani, who shone for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan before joining the Angels in December, said through an interpreter.
“I wanted to keep a clean zero on the board”, Ohtani said of his last out. The last person to do it was Jim Shaw in 1919, but his three home runs in the Washington Senators’ first 10 games ended up being the only ones he hit all season. “I wanted that strikeout, and I got it”.
The value Ohtani presents as a player who contributes as a pitcher and as a hitter is simply dripping with potential if he can continue his early-season success. Justin Upton is starting at designated hitter with Ohtani opening Monday’s game on the bench, which opens up a spot for Ryan Schimpf to start in left field.
After an off day on Thursday, Ohtani belted a 449-foot solo home run to centre field with two outs in the second inning and Los Angeles rallied from a huge deficit to win 12-9. And since the knock on voting for a pitcher as MVP has always been the fact they play just once every five days, Ohtani also has a chance to recast this vision of what the MVP should and could be.
“It looks like a strike I feel like nearly every time, but it never is. It makes it tough as a hitter”.