ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — On back-to-back nights during an otherwise ordinary June homestand for the Los Angeles Angels, Shohei Ohtani accomplished two feats that would each be career landmarks for practically any other player in baseball history.
On Tuesday, Ohtani hit a pair of three-run homers and drove in a career-high eight runs, the most by a Japanese-born player in the major leagues.
On Wednesday, Ohtani racked up a career-high 13 strikeouts while pitching eight scoreless innings of two-hit ball, retiring 16 straight Kansas City Royals and getting 24 outs without a hit against his final 24 batters.
This superstar who plays both ways is still coming up with new ways to dazzle the baseball world.
A year after he unanimously won the AL MVP award in honor of his wholly unprecedented season, Ohtani is still finding new places to inscribe his name in the major league record books while he strives to get the perpetually struggling Angels (34-38) back on a winning track.
Nearly halfway through a second straight season of revolutionary play, Ohtani’s unique skills are becoming normal to a degree that would have seemed impossible before he reached his full powers last year — yet his fans and his fellow Halos never take it for granted.
“Watching it every day, you think you get used to the greatness, but there’s a lot of things involved with him,” Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said. “Just the way his mind is in the game, he’s aware of everything. He’s incredible. To see what he does on a baseball field, it’s fun to be a part of every day.”
Ohtani (6-4) saw his performances in more practical terms Wednesday night after he picked up his third consecutive win and moved into fifth in the AL in strikeouts despite making two or three fewer starts than everybody above him.