The Los Angeles Angels won their third consecutive game on Tuesday, and their second straight against the previously red-hot New York Yankees. As has been the case all season, Shohei Ohtani had a real case for game MVP, doing something that breaks the mold of an average baseball player.
Ohtani went 0-for-2 against the Yankees, but drew two walks and scored two runs. One of those runs came in the fifth inning, when he and Phil Gosselin perfectly executed a delayed double steal. Gosselin stole second, and while catcher Gary Sanchez was attempting to get him out, Ohtani broke for the plate.
He was ruled safe, as shortstop Gio Urshela was unable to get the ball back to the plate in time, and it gave the Angels a commanding 6-2 lead that would last them the rest of the game in a 6-4 win.
Jared Walsh, who was at home plate during this play, simply couldn’t believe what he was seeing out of Ohtani, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“I looked up and Sho was sliding into home,” Walsh said. “I was like, ‘Wow. OK, that was pretty amazing.’ It was cool. Just another night of Shohei doing something amazing. Watching Sho every day is a treat.”
Maddon was also impressed by Ohtani, saying that they worked on this type of play and the Angels star executed it to perfection.
“I thought he made a good break,” Maddon said. “It’s a tough play for the shortstop to come across and make that throw back to the plate. The reason why it did work was because Shohei’s break from third base was on time.”
“It’s something we talked about beforehand, where if we get the right reads, we go,” Maddon said. “We had some really aware people out there. The double steal of Goose and Shohei couldn’t have been a better combination. Just awareness.”
Gosselin’s blazing speed on the base paths has certainly been a surprise this season, but it’s Ohtani that continues to steal the show in every way. The double steal was one of two stolen bases Ohtani had during the win on Tuesday.
This means he has a total of 22 stolen bases this year to go along with 42 home runs, which leads all of baseball. His 22 stolen bases rank sixth in baseball, tied with Houston Astros’ Myles Straw.
Ohtani breaks Angels record
When Ohtani stole his 20th base earlier this week, he set another Angels record, something that seems to be happening on a nightly basis. He became the first player in Halos history to hit 40 home runs and steal 20 bases in one season.