The Los Angeles Angels defeated the Boston Red Sox 8-0 in the series rubber match on Thursday in a game that was started by Shohei Ohtani, who was on the mound and batting third for the Halos.
While it’s common to see Ohtani hitting for himself, it isn’t common to see a pitcher hitting at Fenway Park, which caused him to create some history, as he has done so often with his unique skill set.
In the fourth inning, Ohtani singled to center field, which made him the first starting pitcher to record a hit at Fenway Park since Roger Clemens on May 23, 1996 against the Seattle Mariners. Clemens’ single was the only other hit by a starting pitcher at Fenway Park in the designated hitter era.
Ohtani finished his day by going 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. On the mound, he pitched seven shutout innings while striking out 11 hitters, walking none and giving up six hits.
With his 11 strikeouts, he set a new career high with 29 swings and misses, passing his previous mark of 26, which came against the Oakland Athletics on Sept. 19, 2021.
Additionally, Ohtani became the first starting pitcher to bat within the top four spots of a lineup at Fenway since Babe Ruth hit fourth on Sept. 20, 1919.
Ruth finished that game 1-for-2 with a home run off Lefty Williams in the 9th inning. On the mound, he pitched 5.1 innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on nine hits while striking out three.
Over his career with the Red Sox, Ruth batted 4th in their order 13 times at Fenway when he was also the starting pitcher.
Angels not concerned with Ohtani’s slow start
Ohtani has uncharacteristically gotten off to a slow start offensively. In 25 games, he is batting just .230/.294/.390 with four doubles, three home runs and 12 RBI across 109 plate appearances.
Angels hitting coach Jeremy Reed isn’t concerned about Ohtani’s lack of production and believes his struggles are being magnified due to the small sample size early in the season.
Ohtani most notably appears to be pulling off too many pitches and isn’t hitting left-handed pitchers as well compared to last season. Reed admitted his mechanics could use some tweaking, but noted this is common for many players over the course of a season.
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