The Los Angeles Angels are lucky to call Shohei Ohtani the ace of their starting rotation and a true anchor to their lineup. But with his performance on Tuesday, he locked his name in franchise record books alongside Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan.
Through three starts he’s been every bit as advertised, tallying 24 strikeouts over 19 innings, and allowing just one earned run. Although he hasn’t been perfect, his high-powered arsenal and ability to work out of trouble make him one of the best starters in Major League Baseball.
In his short time with the Angels, his name is right there with the best in club history as he made 10 consecutive pitching starts allowing two or fewer runs, setting the Angels’ new record. It was previously held by Ryan, who had a nine-game streak from 1972-73.
Earlier this year, Ohtani joined another record book, although it’s not one he would like to be remembered for.
In his second start of the season, Ohtani put his pitching wizardry on display once again, logging eight strikeouts over six innings, allowing just one earned run on three hits in a tightrope game for the Angels’ ace. At the plate, he tallied an RBI single in the top of the seventh inning to extend their lead to 4-1.
After clawing their way back into the game to make it a 4-3 game, the Angels closed the door, securing a win for Ohtani. A good, but not great performance from their two-way star was highlighted by him becoming the first player in league history to have a pitch clock violation on the mound and as a hitter.
After winning his first career Most Valuable Player Award in 2021, Ohtani nearly followed it up last season if not for New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge. He finished fourth in American League Cy Young voting, and if he’s able to figure out his command issues, the two-way star is on track to pick up more hardware prior to hitting free agency.
Angels feeling pressure in Shohei Ohtani’s contract season
A solid start from the Angels has them atop the American League West, much in part to offensive outbursts and length from starting rotation. However, the memories of last season and their success through early May are difficult to forget how fast their success went downhill.
Angels owner Arte Moreno greenlit offseason spending amidst questions of him selling the team, but after adding Brandon Drury and Tyler Anderson, then trading for Hunter Renfroe alongside Gio Urshela, the Angels have a talented team which means they’re all in for the 2023 year.
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