Despite the discovery of a devastating elbow ligament injury ahead of his free agency, Shohei Ohtani (LA Angels) is still a national ballpark favorite. In a rare moment, he was booed by the home team’s fans during an away game. With everyone cheering him on, Ohtani continued to play as if it was business as usual, doubling, tripling, and stealing two bases despite his elbow injury.
Ohtani batted second in the lineup against the New York Mets at Citi Field in the Queens borough of New York City, New York, U.S., on Sunday (July 27), going 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, an RBI and two stolen bases. He raised his batting average to .307 and his OPS to 1.084. In all three games since returning from his elbow injury, Ohtani has hit for the cycle. He even attempted to steal two bases, and both were successful.
It started in the first inning. Ohtani doubled with the bases loaded. He hit a 2-1 pitch off Mets starter Carlos Carrasco for a huge foul ball that sailed just wide of the right-field foul pole, and after an eight-pitch at-bat, it ended up landing in the right-center field seats.
Carrasco, who had faced Ohtani with a mix of curveballs, changeups, sliders and sinkers, threw his first fastball high in the strike zone for a wild pitch. Ohtani hit the ball into the wall for a one-base hit. Ohtani scored on Brandon Drury’s single to center field for the first run of the game.
In the second inning, with the score 3-0, Ohtani struck again. This time, he took a slider from Carrasco and dropped it into the right field corner. Luis Lengipo scored to make it 4-0. Ohtani sprinted to third base and was ruled safe. It was his eighth triple of the season. It tied him with Bobby Witt Jr. (Kansas City) for the American League lead in triples.
In the bottom of the first, Drury singled again, this time to drive in Ohtani. Ohtani added two more runs on the day to reach the 100-run mark. He now has 100 hits, 100 runs scored, 100 innings pitched, and 100 strikeouts in a single season. Although he is no longer pitching this season, he passed the 100 innings and 100 strikeouts milestone early. Ohtani has 145 hits, 100 runs scored, and 167 strikeouts in 132 innings.
In the fourth inning, he really caught the opposition off guard. With the bases loaded, he drew a walk and then stole second and third base. His 18th and 19th steals of the season came in the same inning. After stealing 26 bases in 2021, it’s been two years since he’s seen 20 in a season. And he did it while playing on an injured elbow.
Angels manager Phil Nevin said of Ohtani’s stolen base streak after the game, “Everybody knows he can run. When he’s pitching, he doesn’t try to steal very often, but when he’s not, he runs. I think we might see more of that in the future.”
In the seventh inning, he led off with a single to center field. In the ninth inning, with the score 5-3, Lengipo doubled and had a chance to score two batters later. Ohtani took first base on an automatic double play. Former Lotte Giants pitcher Brooks Railly, who is strong against left-handed hitters, was on the mound, but the Mets bench opted for the double play.
Japan’s Nikkan Sports described the atmosphere at Citi Field. “In the stands, even fans wearing Mets T-shirts went crazy for Ohtani. Whenever he hit a big foul ball or showed off his quick feet, the stadium erupted in cheers. In his final at-bat in the ninth inning, when he signed for an automatic high four, he was greeted with loud boos, as if he wanted to show off his hitting.” It’s a testament to Ohtani’s national popularity.
Behind Ohtani’s performance, the Angels beat the Mets 5-3 to start a winning streak. It was the second straight day the Angels beat the Mets, a team that is struggling with some sort of ailment that hasn’t been helped by the highest single-season payroll in baseball history. With the win, the Angels improved to 63-67 and are now -4 against the spread.
The Angels’ last five-game winning season was in 2015 when they went 85-77 (.525 winning percentage). After finishing first in the American League West in 2014, the Angels had their second straight winning season (5+ win percentage), but fell short of the postseason behind the Texas Rangers (88 wins, 74 losses) and Houston Astros (86 wins, 76 losses). Since then, they haven’t enjoyed fall baseball in eight years, and they’ve finished below .500 in seven of those years. Things aren’t looking good this year either.먹튀검증
On Sept. 27, Angels general manager Perry Minasian’s comments came under fire. He mentioned that Ohtani had refused to undergo an MRI prior to this elbow injury. While this may have been seen as a transparent disclosure, it could be seen as a “shirking of responsibility” depending on how you look at it.
Minasian said, “When he was taken off the field prematurely due to finger cramps, we recommended that he get an examination, but his agency refused. I can understand why. One would think that there is no reason to have a medical examination for a middle finger cramp.” Fans immediately realized that this was the end of the road for the two, as the club wanted a test, but the player didn’t want one.