Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim took the loss in Game 2 of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Freeway Series at Angels Stadium on April 22, allowing one run on five hits and two walks with 12 strikeouts in seven innings of work, but the general consensus is that he did not disappoint.
It was his fifth double-digit strikeout outing of the season, signaling a return to form.
After the game, Ohtani said, “I felt good today. I felt the most comfortable on the mound this season. It’s just a matter of how I keep it going, and it’s not easy to keep it going every day. But you have to try to maintain it.”
Ohtani’s lone run came on a mid-month solo homer to left fielder Freddie Freeman in the fourth inning. The second pitch, an 85-mph cutter, sliced from outside to center and Freeman hit it with precision.
Ohtani said, “I should have gone a little lower and tried to get him to swing at it. “I went into the game with a game plan, and the hitters had their own tendencies, but I felt comfortable on the mound, and I was able to throw more pitches,” he said.안전놀이터
Angels manager Phil Nevin said, “Ohtani was great today. I thought he pitched tremendously. Freddie was smart enough to stick out a little bit and get a backdoor slider and hit it over the left-center field fence. You could see why he’s such a great hitter,” he said, “but Ohtani handled the top of the order well. Overall, he was impressive.”
Los Angeles Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman hits a solo home run off Ohtani in the fourth inning. USATODAYYonline
It was Ohtani’s first career start against the Dodgers. Ohtani is the first Angels pitcher to record 12 strikeouts against the Dodgers. The previous record was 11 strikeouts by Garrett Richards on September 10, 2015. Ohtani’s 12-strikeout performance was his second of the season and sixth of his career.
He has a 3.00 ERA in his last six starts, a complete turnaround from a four-game stretch in late April and mid-May that saw him post a 6.12 ERA.
The Angels are 10-5 in Ohtani’s 15 starts this year. He didn’t get much help from his offense on this day, but it was still a performance that could be considered one of his “top three” of the season.
For the season, Ohtani is 6-3 with a 3.13 ERA, 117 strikeouts, a 1.04 WHIP, a .179 batting average, and 89 innings pitched. In the AL, he ranks 9th in ERA, 2nd in strikeouts, 6th in WHIP, and 1st in BABIP. He ranks in the top 10 in every major pitching category except wins.
As a hitter, Ohtani is already at the top. He’s batting .292 (83-for-284) with 24 home runs, 58 RBIs, 49 runs scored, 10 doubles, a .377 slugging percentage, a .616 on-base percentage, and a .993 OPS. He led both leagues in home runs, RBIs, slugging percentage, and OPS.
Ohtani, who has continued his two-hit streak this year, leads the league in WAR. His Baseball-Reference WAR (bWAR) of 5.1 (2.8 as a hitter and 2.3 as a pitcher) is 1.1 ahead of second-place Chicago Cubs pitcher Marcus Stroman (4.0).
His Fangraphs WAR (fWAR) of 4.5 (2.9 as a hitter, 1.6 as a pitcher) is 1.1 higher than second-place Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. (3.4). We haven’t even gotten around to the season return point, but a WAR differential of more than 1 is a sign of a dominant system.
Last year, Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees led the way with a historic 62 home runs and finished with a bWAR of 10.6 and an fWAR of 11.5, ahead of second-place Ohtani (bWAR of 9.6 and fWAR of 9.5). There’s a reason why Judge received 28 first-place votes in AL MVP voting and Ohtani received two. In 2021, Ohtani was a unanimous MVP, leading both leagues with 8.9 bWAR and 8.0 fWAR.
At his current pace, Ohtani is on pace for a 10.9 bWAR and 9.6 fWAR this season. Both are career highs. The numbers don’t lie. At 45.9% of the way through the pennant race, Ohtani is the undisputed MVP.
Meanwhile, in MLB.com’s Hitter Power Rankings, released on April 23, Ohtani came out on top. According to the site, “Ohtani hadn’t been ranked since mid-April. But with a .377 batting average, .476 on-base percentage, .884 slugging percentage, nine home runs and 20 RBIs in 18 games in June, he was the unanimous choice of the voters to top the list for the first time this year.