‘Even the perfect pitcher succumbed…’ Ohtani stuns in ‘unanimous MVP season’

The sky is the limit for Shohei Ohtani (29-LAA), who is on pace to outperform his unanimous American League (AL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) season of 2021. 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 Sunday at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif.메이저사이트

He raised his season batting average slightly from .306 to .307 (111-for-362) and raised his on-base percentage from .677 to .680 with the triple.

The opposing pitcher was no slouch. Domingo Herrmann threw the 24th perfect game of his MLB career on April 29, 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 April 4, but looked to continue his momentum with a six-inning, one-run performance against the Chicago Cubs on April 10.

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 and struck out on three pitches.

He only had to adjust once. 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 zone to load the bases. A shaken Hermann then gave up another run on a wild pitch.

In the fifth inning, he broke down Hermann himself. With the bases loaded and the score 3-1, he pulled hard on Hermann’s low changeup. The pitch had a 3-degree launch angle, but it was still a hard-hit, 110.5-mile-per-hour (177.8-kilometer-per-hour) fastball. If the angle had been higher, it would have been a home run for the fourth straight game. As the ball traveled 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, Ohtani calmly picked off three pitches in his fourth at-bat before being forced out on a six-pitch walk. There was nothing he could do about the pitch, which was low to the body.

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 season has been nothing short of remarkable. With his 35th cannon the day before, Ohtani solidified 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. Considering the way he’s been trending lately, he could even surpass Aaron Judge’s (New York Yankees) home run record of 62 set last year.

We’re also looking at the number one spot for 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 down to the AL, his ranking improves even further.

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 RBI, eighth in runs scored, and second in on-base percentage and OPS.

But he was also a stellar 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. After striking out 156 batters in 2021, he has 139 strikeouts in 18 games this season. No wonder he’s a unanimous MVP favorite.

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