Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani recorded 10 strikeouts through 6 1/3 innings and added two home runs in a win over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night. Here’s what you need to know:
- Ohtani became the first American League player to hit two home runs and strike out 10 or more batters. From Pedro Ramos in 1963.
- It was Ohtani’s first career game with 10-plus strikeouts and a homer, and the first time Ohtani hit two home runs in a game.
- The Angels beat the White Sox 4-2 to improve to 44-37 on the season. Los Angeles is second in the American League West, while Chicago (34-47) is fourth in the American League Central.
Ohtani, a three-time MLB All-Star, was removed from Tuesday’s game in the seventh inning as a pitcher with a broken fingernail. He still hit his second home run in the seventh off Dougie Toussaint in his next at-bat. That followed a homer off White Sox pitcher Michael Kopech.
In June, Ohtani recorded 13 home runs and 37 strikeouts. He leads the league with 28 homers this season.
How Ohtani equalized in June
Ohtani has been dealing with a split nail since before the start of the game. It clearly worsened and affected his command of his fast pitches in that seventh inning. But to think that he dominated the White Sox lineup in that condition while recording 10 strikeouts is puzzling. Not to mention hitting two home runs. There were times when Ohtani was elite in hitting (2021) and elite in pitching (2022). The past month has shown that he may have some runway to excel at both at the same time in a way we haven’t seen from him at the major-league level. — Blum
Ohtani’s adjustment and what’s next
Ohtani’s command was a real issue for eight starts. In that span, he allowed three or more runs in six outings, and that culminated in a five-run outing in five innings against the Mariners. He doesn’t look like the Cy Young pitcher we were used to seeing last year. In three starts, he pitched 19 1/3 innings and allowed just four runs and four walks. Angels manager Phil Nevin and Ohtani both mentioned some mechanical changes, but didn’t provide many details. Whatever the changes, they are clearly working. And it never affected his offense. He finished the first half of the season on pace for 56 home runs. Maybe he’ll make a run at Aaron Judge’s American League home run record. — Blum
What are they saying?
Ohtani acknowledged the “MVP” chants that erupted at Angel Stadium.
“A similar thing happened in 2021,” he said after the game. “It’s always a good feeling to hear that from the fans and it gives me a lot of motivation to do better.”
Nevin called Ohtani’s performance “wow”.
“I think what it’s like is seeing new guys like (Mike Moustakas) and (Eduardo Escobar) come in, and they see this and they’re amazed. We all are,” Nevin said. “But seeing it for the first time. Today’s performance was incredible.
With Tuesday’s performance, Ohtani became the first player in MLB history to hit 10-plus home runs and the first to hit 35-plus batters in a month. According to OptaStats, Babe Ruth is the only player to have a 10-HR month and 35-strikeout month at any point in his career.
(Photo: Harry How/Getty Images)
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