Where are the limits for Shohei Tani (29-LAA)? He’s on pace to outperform 2021, when he was a unanimous American League (AL) Most Valuable Player (MVP). The free agency bonanza is already set.
Ohtani started in the No. 2 spot in the lineup and went 1-for-3 with a triple, a home run, an RBI, a walk and two strikeouts in a 5-1 victory over the New York Yankees on 19 September at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California, USA.
His batting average increased slightly from .306 to .307 (111-for-362) on the season, and he added a triple to improve his on-base percentage from .677 to .680.
Three strikes against a perfect pitch, a walk, and a bullet triple for perfect revenge
The opposing pitcher was no pushover. Domingo Herrmann threw the 24th perfect game of his MLB career on the 29th of last month, surpassing the 100-year mark. He faltered a bit after allowing three runs (two earned) in 4 1/3 innings against the Baltimore Orioles on the 4th, but looked to continue his momentum with a 6 1/3 inning performance against the Chicago Cubs on the 10th.
It didn’t start well. With one out in the top of the first inning, Ohtani struggled with Hermann’s changeup. He swung wildly at two curves and a changeup, striking out on three pitches.
One adjustment was enough. In the bottom of the third inning with a 2-1 lead, Hermann’s delivery faltered. He walked the first two batters, and Ohtani was in no hurry. After fouling off the first pitch, Ohtani calmly picked off the next low pitch and, after a five-pitch swing, was not fooled by a sinker that sailed just outside the six-pitch zone to load the bases. A shaken Hermann then gave up another run on a wild pitch.
In the fifth inning, he took down Hermann himself. With the bases loaded and his team leading 3-1, he pulled hard on Hermann’s low changeup. The pitch had a 3-degree launch angle, but it was a powerful 110.5-mile-per-hour (177.8-kilometre-per-hour) fastball. If the angle had been higher, it would have been a home run for the fourth straight game. As the ball sailed down the right-field line to the fence, Ohtani quickly made it to first, second, and then third base with ease, while the runner at first easily rounded the bases. Ohtani scored on a single by Mickey Moniak.
In the bottom of the seventh, with the bases loaded, he calmly picked off three pitches in his fourth at-bat, but was forced to retire on a six-pitch count. There was nothing he could do about the ball that was low to his body.
What’s wrong with Ohtani, a triple and a number one hit?
With his seventh triple of the season, Ohtani passed Bobby Witt Jr. (Kansas City Royals – six) to take sole possession of first place in MLB in that category.
Ohtani’s run this season has been remarkable. With his 35th cannon the day before, Ohtani secured his status as MLB’s top big hitter, trailing only Matt Olson (Atlanta Braves-30) by five in that category.
With 35 homers in 93 games, Ohtani is on pace to hit exactly 60 homers if he plays in all 67 remaining games at his current pace. Given his recent form, he could even surpass Aaron Judge’s 메이저사이트(New York Yankees) home run record of 62 set last year.
He also leads the Hotasuns in triples. Since 1901, only Willie Mays of the New York Giants (now San Francisco) in 1955 (51 home runs and 13 triples) and Jim Rice of the Boston Red Sox in 1978 (46 home runs and 15 triples) have led the league in both home runs and triples. After 45 years, Ohtani is poised to make history.
Furthermore, Ohtani is first in slugging percentage (.680) and OPS (slugging+OPS-1.072), third in hits (76), seventh in runs scored (69), eighth in on-base percentage (.392), and ninth in batting average (.307). Narrowing it down to the AL, the rankings get even better.
Compare that to 2021, when he won the AL unanimous MVP award. That year, Ohtani hit .257 with 46 home runs, 100 RBI, 103 runs scored, a .592 slugging percentage, and a .964 OPS. He was third in the league in home runs, 13th in RBIs, eighth in runs scored, and second in on-base percentage and OPS.
But he was also an outstanding pitcher with a 9-2 record and a 3.18 ERA, making him the undisputed Most Valuable Player.
This season, he’s even more evolved as a pitcher, going 7-5 with a 3.50 ERA in 23 games. He struck out 156 batters in 2021 and has 139 strikeouts in 18 games this season. No wonder he’s a unanimous MVP favourite.