When Shohei Ohtani decided to come stateside, the LA Angels were long shots to land the two way sensation. Instead, their American League West rival Seattle Mariners were the favorite to land the Japanese phenom.
After Shohei Ohtani narrowed down his suitors to seven finalists, the Mariners were the favorite according to, well, everyone. Nobody saw the Angels as a good spot considering Albert Pujols occupying the designated hitter spot on recent injury history with starting pitchers.
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However, we all know what followed.
Billy Eppler put together a presentation that won Ohtani over while former Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto, now working for Seattle, was unable to wow the best prospect in baseball. Ever since, Ohtani has been as advertised. Seattle, instead of slotting him into their Opening Day lineup, got their first taste of Ohtani in the Halos and Mariners first series of 2018 over the weekend.
This was the first time Ohtani was largely booed by an opposing crowd. With Seattle hoping to land him themselves, there was obviously bad blood between the fan base and Anaheim’s newest star.
Ohtani played in two games, as a batter on Friday and pitcher on Sunday. From the way he played, one can assume Ohtani was out to prove himself. He finished the day with two hits, a walk, a run, and an RBI. He did strike out one, but Ohtani dominated the game, bringing his season batting average to .339. His night was highlighted by a fifth inning double, which brought the Angels lead to 3-0.
On Sunday, Ohtani showed the few Mariners fans in the stand just how dominant he can be. After being tested in his last two starts, Ohtani made his first start since suffering a sprained ankle in late April. That seemed to not bother him at all, as he threw a perfect first inning.
Ohtani settled in as the game went on. He displayed his nasty splitter in the second inning, striking out two Mariners. As the game went on, Ohtani allowed six hits and one walk through six innings while also striking out six. Ohtani took the mound with a shutout in the seventh inning. However, he struggled as he allowed a two run shot to Ryon Healy on a low slider. Ohtani was pulled after walking the next batter.
While he doesn’t play for them, he may as well be listed as the Mariners’ owner on Wikipedia.
All in all, Ohtani played like an all-around stud this weekend. He hit like a slugger. He pitched like an ace. The Angels play the Mariners 16 more times this season. If Ohtani can play like he did this weekend in those games, the Halos will be in great shape, and Mariners fans will be thinking about what could have been.