The Los Angeles Angels announced on Wednesday that Shohei Ohtani will not pitch again this season, even if the Seattle Mariners are in prime playoff contention. For the team’s final games, Ohtani will be a hitter only.
In the Halos first game following that announcement, Ohtani made sure that he kept the excitement surrounding him alive and well. In a 7-2 win over the Texas Rangers, Ohtani was the leadoff batter. He put together a 2-for-5 night, scoring one run and stealing two bases.
At this point in the season, a couple of stolen bases and a run scored in a meaningless game may not seem important, but it put Ohtani in rarified air. During Wednesday’s game, Ohtani became the first player in AL history to hit 45 home runs, steal 25 bases, and score 100 runs in one season.
Joe Maddon spoke about this impressive feat and what it means for his end-of-season hardware, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“He’s looking right at the plate right now,” Maddon said of Ohtani. “He fouled off his pitch a couple times regarding the home run ball, but he’s been hitting the ball hard, including the ball that went through the second baseman’s glove. In my mind’s eye that absolutely galvanizes the MVP Award. When you start breaking gloves, you’re the MVP.”
The Angels two-way star is also the first player in AL history to hit 45 home runs, steal 25 bases, score 100 runs, and hit five triples in one season. And perhaps the most incredible thing about statistics like this is that it doesn’t even mention his pitching.
As a pitcher, Ohtani threw a team-high 130.1 innings, going 9-2 in 23 starts. He held a 3.18 ERA, a 1.09 WHIP, and struck out 156 batters compared to 44 walks.
It’s been said many times before, but it’s impossible to overemphasize how legendary of a season this has been from Ohtani. When all is said and done, this absolutely should go down as one of the greatest — if not the greatest — individual seasons in MLB history.
Maddon, Minasian respond to Ohtani’s comments
Ohtani made headlines recently for hinting that he may leave the Angels in two years if they cannot put together a winning team. And while organizations generally don’t feel the need to respond to comments like that, Maddon and Perry Minasian did.
They said that not only were Ohtani’s comments understandable, they were expected. As the Angels miss the playoffs for the seventh straight season, everyone is fully aware that changes have to be made to get the team to contention, starting with acquiring pitching.