The best day of Shohei Ohtani’s young career came in his home debut. No, not his hitting one, his OTHER debut in Anaheim. That fantastic hitting streak detailed earlier, where Ohtani hit home runs in his first three games at The Big A, those all came right before his first start in front of his home crowd.
Ohtani went on to face the same Oakland A’s team he faced just a week earlier. However, while his first start was solid, he did show weakness. This time, there was not an ounce of Ohtani’s game that was not elite that day.
Sitting in the stands before the game, something felt different in Anaheim. To this day I can’t describe what it was, but there was a certain feeling amongst the crowd. After watching Ohtani strikeout the first three batters, I leaned over to my mom and told her we were about to see something special.
And all we saw was Shohei Ohtani, who some claimed should start his career in the minor leagues, take a perfect game into the seventh inning against a team who would go on to play in the Wild Card. All we saw was Ohtani strike out 12 batters in his second career MLB start.
Remember those flair for the dramatics I mentioned earlier? How does a near-perfect game in front of your home crowd (for the first time) rank amongst those? Come 2020, when Ohtani is back on the mound for the Angels, fans know what kind of pitcher they’ll be getting.
And hey, don’t forget, he hits too.