It feels as though Los Angeles Angels two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani etches himself into MLB’s history books nearly every time he steps on to a field. And every so often, he breaks multiple records or passes several new milestones. Tuesday night against the Oakland Athletics was one of those outings.
The Angels’ 5-1 victory over the Athletics served as the prototype of an Ohtani performance that baseball fans simply should never become accustomed to. He pitched 6.0 scoreless innings, allowing four hits and three walks while striking out five batters. At the plate, he went 2-for-3 with a home run, a walk, and two runs scored.
By itself, this is another in a long list of massively impressive nights for Ohtani. But — with the Angels superstar — it’s never just an impressive night. It’s also a chance for him to carve his name deeper into the record books of baseball.
Here, we take a look at the records Ohtani set — and the milestones he passed — on Tuesday night as the Angels breezed past the Athletics.
Home Runs by a Japanese-born player
In the seventh inning, Ohtani belted a high breaking ball 378 feet for a home run. It was his 25th of the 2022 season — surpassing Mike Trout for the team lead — and the 118th homer of his career.
Ohtani hitting home run No. 118 is significant because it puts him ahead of Ichiro Suzuki for the second-most home runs all time by a Japanese-born player. Suzuki has long been Ohtani’s idol in American baseball, and the Angels star has now surpassed his hero in total home runs in just five seasons.
With his 118th home run, Shohei Ohtani passes Ichiro Suzuki for second-most home runs in MLB by a Japanese-born player! pic.twitter.com/O0jHElcPZF
— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) August 10, 2022
Ohtani spoke about passing Suzuki and why it’s important to him even if Suzuki was never a power hitter, according to Sonja Chen of MLB.com:
“Obviously we’re very different types of hitters,” Ohtani said, “but if I get to pass Ichiro on any list, I’m really honored and privileged.”
It may be a while before Ohtani becomes the all-time Japanese-born leader in home runs, as he sits 57 big fly’s away from Hideki Matsui’s 175.
Joining Babe Ruth’s home run/wins club
In defeating the Athletics, Ohtani finally captured his elusive 10th win. Last season, despite his dominance on the mound, he only racked up nine wins, making him one short of joining one of baseball’s most exclusive clubs.
So by securing his win No. 10, Ohtani joins Babe Ruth as the only players in American League or National League history to win 10 or more games as a pitcher as well as hit 10 or more home runs in the same season. Ohtani has 10 wins and 25 home runs, whereas Ruth had 13 wins and 11 home runs in 1918.
Ohtani also joins Ed Rile (11 wins/11 home runs in 1927) and Bullet Rogan (14 wins/15 home runs in 1922) of the Negro Leagues as the only players in baseball history to accomplish this feat.
With his seventh inning home run, Ohtani became the first American League pitcher since Dave McNally in 1972 to pitch six or more scoreless innings and hit a home run in the same game.
Ohtani also set a new career high for strikeouts in a season, racking up his 157th K. He had 156 last season, and sets his new personal best in August, with just under eight weeks to go in the regular season.
Finally, 2022 Ohtani joined 2021 Ohtani as the only players in baseball history to hit 25 or more home runs at the plate and strike out 150 batters or more on the mound in a single season.