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MLB

Angels’ Shohei Ohtani makes MLB history...again.

It would appear that Angels’ star has a habit of setting new records whether from the mound or the plate

Paul Rudder
Update:
Angels’ Shohei Ohtani makes MLB history...again.
Andrew DiebUSA TODAY Sports

The Japanese sensation was at it once again as he signed his name on yet another page of MLB history.

Shohei Ohtani makes history before taking the mound

When divisional rivals the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels met on Wednesday night in Houston, the Astros would have known they were up against it coming into the game. After all, not only would they be facing the Angels’ two-way superstar and 2021 AL MVP at the plate, but unfortunately on the mound as well. What they couldn’t have been expecting, however, was that Shohei Ohtani would make history even before throwing a single pitch. Having got things off an running as the leadoff batter, Ohtani joined his teammates in putting six runs on the board at the expense of Houston’s starter Jake Odorizzi, who didn’t even last the entire inning.

How was history made? Though hard to believe the Angels got 11 hitters on the plate in the top of the first, which means Ohtani came to the plate twice - a walk and a double - making Ohtani the first starting pitcher in MLB history to make two plate appearances at plate before throwing a pitch. Interestingly, it should be noted that the feat is the largely the result of the DH rule which though utilized by the AL since 1973 is now universal in the league. Pitchers normally tend to bat at the bottom of the order, but in Ohtani’s case there is no questioning his ability with the bat, such that he is both DH and starting pitcher creating the possibility of achieving what he just did.

How did Shohei Ohtani do on the pitcher’s mound?

To say it was a dominant performance would be an understatement. In their 6-0 win, the Angels saw their star player strike out six batters in a row at one point. Indeed, across his performance Ohtani registered 12 strikeouts in total, tying his career high against a team that has proven a difficult opponent to beat in recent seasons. Interestingly, Ohtani was on his way to a perfect game, when Jason Castro got his first hit of the season. It’s worth noting that before the game Maddon actually said that he would limit Ohtani to 95 pitches, but as the performance got better and better it would appear the coach’s stance changed. On the night, it was clear that Ohtani was inspired. Aside from Castro’s hit the Angels main man gave an veritable clinic in pitching with his fastball continuously in the high 90s. There was also the matter of the 20 swings and misses that he amassed.

Is Shohei Ohtani back to his best?

While it would be fair to say that Ohtani hasn’t performed at his highest level so far, this game was definitely a glimpse of what he’s capable of. With his performance in Houston, he actually decreased his ERA for the season from 7.56 to 4.40., while at the plate his 2 for 4 night - including the walk - raised his OPS from .691 to .743. Of course it’s still not up to par for the Angels’ star, but rest assured the No.1 ranked team in the league will be very encouraged by their talisman’s most recent performance, as they look to keep on rolling. Watch this space!

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