Shohei Ohtani has been referred to as the Japanese Babe Ruth. Nearly every team in baseball made a pitch for him when he became available last offseason. He was baseball’s most talked about player coming into the 2018 season. The expectations for Ohtani were through the roof, yet he has surpassed those expectations in the early going.
Ohtani capped off a whirlwind week with a monstrous performance in his home pitching debut at Angel Stadium on Sunday afternoon. A seven inning shutout was the cherry on top for a week that turned Ohtani from highly talked-about player to household name.
The complexities of trying to achieve stardom as both a pitcher and hitter didn’t seem to faze Ohtani, who churned in one of the most incredible weeks in baseball history. Seven shutout innings along in a winning effort on the hill, with home runs in three straight games at the dish, made for a very memorable week. Here’s a look back on the historic start to Ohtani’s Major League Baseball career.
Thursday, March 29 at Oakland
Ohtani made his MLB debut on Opening Day as a designated hitter, batting 8th in the Los Angeles Angels lineup. As we’ve become accustomed to so far, Ohtani began with dramatic fashion, singling on the first pitch he saw in the majors. The 102 MPH single was his only hit on the day but the debut was a positive one for Ohtani, who looked like he belonged in the majors.
Sunday, April 1 at Oakland
Ohtani’s pitching debut in the majors came three days after his hitting debut and he did not disappoint. A poor stretch of three batters in the third inning was capped by a 3-run home run from Matt Chapman, which represented all of the damage against Ohtani on the day.Shohei Ohtani has had himself the best first seven games imaginable, as the burgeoning MLB superstar is living up to his preseason hype.Click To Tweet
His other five innings were near perfect as Ohtani finished the day with just three runs allowed in his six innings. He allowed three hits, struck out six batters, and walked one batter. Ohtani threw strikes at nearly a 70-percent rate and generated 18 swings-and-misses, a combination that is incredibly hard to pull off.
Tuesday, April 3rd vs Cleveland
Ohtani made yet another debut, making his first hitting appearance at home. He didn’t disappoint and blasted a home run in his first at bat, depositing a curveball over the wall in right-center field.
His night wasn’t done, however, as he proceeded to drill two singles later in the game. All three hits on the night had exit velocities over 100 MPH, with his final at bat resulting in a 113 MPH missile up the middle. This was just the beginning of Ohtani’s stellar offensive week.
Wednesday, April 4th vs Cleveland
Following up on his excellent hitting debut at Angel Stadium, Ohtani proceeded to hit a game tying home run off the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner on Wednesday. In the 5th inning, Ohtani drilled a Corey Kluber fastball to dead center field, bringing the game even at two runs.
Just like Tuesday’s game, Ohtani wasn’t finished after his home run and later flipped a 104 MPH single up the middle. This pushed his multi-hit game streak to two games, yet he wasn’t finished with the offensive fireworks for the week.
Friday, April 4th vs Oakland
Ohtani homered in his first at-bat on Tuesday. He homered in his second at-bat on Wednesday. After an off day on Thursday, Ohtani decided to homer again in his first at-bat on Friday’s game. This home run was jaw-dropping as he obliterated a fastball 449 feet to dead center field, with the ball ending up in the rock pile beyond the wall.
This was his only hit of the night, although he took a walk later in the game, resulting in his third straight game of reaching base multiple times. In a span of 14 plate appearances across three games, Ohtani hit .462/.500/1.154 and blasted three home runs.
Sunday, April 7 vs Oakland
As impressive as his previous three games were, Ohtani had his best MLB performance on Sunday. A packed crowd of 44,742 people witnessed Ohtani dominate in his home pitching debut by tossing seven scoreless innings and taking a perfect game into the fifth inning. He punched out a dozen hitters and allowed just one hit and one walk.
Ohtani generated 25 swing-and-misses on Sunday and went through spurts where hitters were almost helpless against him. Ohtani put himself into the history books with this outing and had one of the most exciting performances in recent baseball memory. It’s early in Shohei Ohtani’s career but the introduction has been darn near perfect.