The Los Angeles Angels escaped from Florida with their first win of the season against the Tampa Bay Rays. They were 0-6 to begin the year, but Shohei Ohtani putting together one of the best games of the season ensured that the winless streak against the Rays and the team’s five-game losing streak would not be extended.
After a first at-bat strikeout, Ohtani took the game over. He drew a leadoff walk in the fourth inning, then stole second base and scored on an infield single by Phil Gosselin to give the Angels a 1-0 lead. In his next at-bat, he doubled home David Fletcher to put them up 2-1. After that, he tripled to score Juan Lagares and tie the game at 4. In his final at-bat, he homered, giving the Angels an insurance run at 6-4.
Overall, he went 3-for-4 with a walk, three extra-base hits, three RBI’s, and two runs scored. He finished a single shy of the cycle. After the game, Gosselin kicked off the trend of sitting in amazement at Ohtani’s abilities, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“I think (Ohtani) broke his bat on that double, hit it 104 and which is harder than my home run,” Gosselin said. “It’s humbling to see him break a bat and hit a ball harder than you. It’s crazy. He’s one of the one of, if not the, most talented guys I’ve ever seen. Seeing it day to day makes you appreciate it even more.”
Patrick Sandoval, who started Sunday’s game and threw 4.2 no-hit innings before eventually allowing three earned runs, credited Ohtani for giving them much-needed momentum.
“After whatever he does, everyone is fired up,” Sandoval said of Ohtani. “It keeps everyone locked in. It’s awesome. You know what he does for this team is indescribable.”
Even Rays players had to join in on the fun, with catcher Mike Zunino praising everything about Ohtani’s game.
“He’s special,” Zunino said. “There’s no hiding his ability, his talent. Being able to see him three days in a row, hitting-wise, is impressive, then knowing every fifth or sixth day he’s on the mound throwing 100. An unbelievable talent.”
At this point, players and managers are running out of ways to describe what Ohtani can do on a game-to-game basis. He is simply incredible and shows it almost every time he steps foot on a baseball diamond.
To this point, he’s done everything he can to keep the Angels afloat despite injuries to Mike Trout, Justin Upton, and Anthony Rendon, as well as early season struggles by Rendon and David Fletcher.
Ohtani and Trout finalists for All-Star Game voting
Ohtani and Trout were the only two Angels players to make it to Phase 2 of All-Star Game voting. In Phase 2, which opened Monday at 9:00 a.m. PT, fans can decide who makes the starting lineup of the July 13 All-Star Game.