The Los Angeles Angels closed out the 2022 season on Wednesday in disappointing fashion. They lost to the Oakland Athletics, 3-2, finishing out a sweep at the hands of one of the worst teams in baseball. But in the moment, the result mattered less than the combined history of Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout.
Entering an offseason of unprecedented uncertainty, Ohtani and Trout gave Angels fans a lasting memory with their performances in the season finale. Starting with Ohtani, who finished his final outing of the season with 5.0 innings pitched, allowing one run on one hit and one walk while striking out six.
After completing his first inning of work — one of four perfect innings he tossed in Oakland — he reached 162.0 frames pitched on the season. This made him the first player in MLB history to qualify for leaderboards as both a pitcher and hitter.
Ohtani well surpassed the 502 plate appearances required to qualify for batting leaderboards, but just barely reached the mark for pitching on Wednesday, concluding 2022 with 166.0 innings pitched. He spoke about this milestone after the 3-2 loss, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“Normally, I don’t really worry about those types of numbers but I was getting close to it and wanted to see what it feels like to get the minimum number of at-bats and innings pitched,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. “I think I learned a lot from that.”
As for Trout, an eighth-inning home run brought two pieces of history to the 2022 finale. First, it was Trout’s 350th home run, a milestone in its own right. Second, it was his 40th home run of the season despite having played just 119 games this season.
119 games is the third-fewest total in a 40-home run season in AL/NL history. Finally, Trout’s big fly went a whopping 490 feet, making it the longest home run of his illustrious Hall of Fame career. He focused on the 40 milestone the most following the game, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“That was one of my goals when I came back,” Trout said. “I told the guys 40 would be a cool number to get to. I got a good pitch to hit and it went out. I wasn’t thinking about it at the time. But it’s a good way to go out.”
Ohtani and Trout proved once again why they may just be one of the best 1-2 punches the game of baseball has ever seen. Now, questions will most definitely arise surrounding their future with the team, as well as a highly important 2023 season.
Ohtani brought a perfect game into the fifth inning, one start after bringing a perfect game into the seventh. However, that ended in unceremonious fashion when Ohtani walked Stephen Vogt, gave up a double to Chad Pinder, and then forced a sacrifice fly to Connor Capel to make it 1-0.
Ohtani would get out of the inning, then exited the game with a blister forming on his right middle finger. The Athletics scored two more runs off of Zack Weiss in the seventh via a Vogt home run and a sac fly that scored Capel.
Facing a 3-0 deficit, Jo Adell tripled to lead off the eighth inning, and he was brought home by Logan O’Hoppe. Luis Rengifo grounded into a double play before Trout’s home run, forcing the score to reside at 3-2.