27 July, 2023
On Thursday, Shohei Ohtani’s legend expanded significantly.
Ohtani did something he had never done in his MLB career: he pitched a complete game, only one day after it was rumored that the Los Angeles Angels removed him off the trade market prior to Tuesday’s deadline. In the Angels’ 6-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers, he gave up just one hit while striking out eight.
Game 1 of a doubleheader was played there. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Ohtani accomplished something unprecedented in MLB history in Game 2: He hit a home run in one half of a doubleheader after pitching a shutout in the other.
He actually hit two home runs.
Ohtani extended his lead for the most home runs in MLB with those two blasts, his 37th and 38th of the year. They also increased Ohtani’s season average for home runs from 57.4 to 59.8. Thursday is a highly important day because Aaron Judge’s 62 long balls threaten to break the American League record.
In 2017, in his final game for the Nippon-Ham Fighters, the last of his 13 complete games in NPB, Ohtani last pitched more than eight innings in a game. This was nearly six years ago. In his MLB career, he has tossed eight innings in a game five times, but not since September 29, 2022.
According to the organization, Ohtani was removed by the Angels in the seventh inning of the second game of the doubleheader owing to minor cramping. The second leg was won by the Angels 11-4.
Although it was a remarkable performance, it wasn’t entirely unheard of. Rick Wise, a pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, hit two home runs in one game and pitched a no-hitter on June 23, 1971.
The Angels decided to keep Shohei Ohtani, whose chances of winning the AL MVP have increased.
As you can expect, this helped Ohtani’s already astronomical AL MVP odds, which increased from -1000 on Thursday to an unimaginable -10000 at BetUS.
All of that occurred the day after reports surfaced that the Angels had chosen to hold onto Ohtani rather than trade him for prospects and usher in a post-Ohtani era. The Chicago White Sox were acquired by the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday in exchange for starting pitcher Lucas Giolito and reliever Reynaldo López as part of their aggressive offensive strategy.
The Angels are 53-49 and 3.5 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays for the third AL wild-card berth, with the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees ahead of them. The second game of the doubleheader is still going on Thursday. The good news is that Mike Trout is anticipated to return next month to support the playoff push in Anaheim in addition to the Giolito deal and Ohtani’s continued existence.