Shohei Ohtani was not supposed to be this good. Not this early, anyway.
A perfect game in his first game at The Big A after the disaster that was Shohei Ohtani in Spring Training? That’s the kind of stuff you see in movies, not reality.
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But, then it was.
Ohtani took the mound Sunday afternoon against the Oakland Athletics with a sold out crowd waiting to see their phenom show his stuff on the mound. Three home runs in three straight home games was special, but who knew that his first trip to the mound in Anaheim would surpass his week at the plate?
As soon as the first inning was underway, the energy at Angels Stadium was electric. Something special was happening. Ohtani fanned three straight batters, the first few that would eventually became 12 batters Ohtani sent down on strikes. Every strikeout came on a swing and miss, as Ohtani used his splitter and triple-digit fastball as his go-to strikeout pitch.
As the strikeouts climbed throughout the game, the amount of baserunners for the A’s stayed the same. Zero. Nobody was getting on base. Ohtani got through six perfect innings of baseball, but perhaps his best moment was after he lost his date with history.
After allowing a single to Marcus Semien to end his perfect game, Ohtani faced slugger Matt Olson with two runners on and two outs. For the third time that game, Ohtani struck out Olson. A nasty splitter that buckled the knees of the A’s slugger was Ohtani’s last pitch of the day, and he let out a triumphant fist pump and scream following his 12th and final strikeout.
While it has only been two games for Ohtani on the mound, the early results are exceptional. His strikeout total rose to 18 today, tying the Halos record for most strikeouts by a pitcher in their first two games. He has allowed only six baserunners on four hits and two walks (which gives a 9:1 strikeout to walk ratio). And best of all, Ohtani now sits at 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA.
On top of his borderline elite pitching, Ohtani has proved himself at the plate as well. In 18 at-bats, he has three homeruns (tied for 1st on the Angels), seven RBI’s (tied 2nd), is batting .389 (1st), slugging .889 (1st), which ends up as a 1.310 OPS (1st). With some believing he needed 500 minor league at-bats before making an impact at the plate in the majors, he is once again proving them wrong.
After a poor Spring Training, he has arguably been the best Halos player so far in 2018. Shohei Ohtani is showing that he is not a prospect in waiting, but a star ready to become super.