Shohei Ohtani is having one hell of a season, and it continued Thursday night.
The two-way superstar pitched seven scoreless innings with 11 strikeouts in the Los Angeles Angels’ 8-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox, but it was another feat in the game that allowed the Japanese star to follow the path of a baseball legend.
Hitting third and making his first start as a pitcher at Fenway Park – the famous home of the Red Sox – Ohtani became the first starting pitcher to bat in one of the first four spots in a game at the stadium since Babe Ruth l did in September. 20, 1919.
Ohtani was also successful at the plate – going 2 for 4 from the plate to go with an RBI single in the eighth.
Angels manager Joe Maddon called Ohtani’s abilities “alien”.
“I hope you’re not starting to take this for granted. Like it’s an old hat,” Maddon told the media. “It’s so unusual. It’s otherworldly, at this level of this game.”
In the win over Boston, Ohtani threw a season-high 99 shots, setting a career-high for swings and misses with 29, up from his previous record of 26.
According to MLB, 29 is the second most swings and misses in Angels history since 2008.
After the game, the 2021 AL MVP was asked about the experience of coming to Fenway: “It’s one of my favorite baseball fields. I was looking forward to pitching here and felt like it left a really good impression on me.
Ohtani threw 81 of his 99 pitches for strikes, also a career high.
“He’s the best player in the league,” Red Sox pitcher Rich Hill said. “I think that’s something that everyone can agree on pretty much unanimously.
“It’s pretty special to see someone like that happen. I think everyone should really appreciate what we’re seeing because it’s something we haven’t seen in 100 years and may never see again for 100 years.
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