Shohei Ohtani (29-LA Angels) is slipping further and further away from the MVP race despite his stellar batting performance.
Ohtani started and batted second in the Angels’ 2023 Major League Baseball home game against the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California, on Tuesday.
As a hitter, he made an impact. After using his quick feet to get an infield hit in his first at-bat, Ohtani hit Luis Castillo’s changeup over the center field fence with two outs in the third inning with the Angels trailing 2-0. It was his 17th of the season with a distance of 440 feet (about 134 meters). Moved into a tie for second in the American League in home runs, two behind MVP race rival Aaron Judge (New York Yankees) with 19.
Ohtani added a two-run double to left field in the bottom of the fifth inning to quickly complete his three-hit game. It was the fourth time this year that Ohtani had three or more hits in a start, according to MLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball. That ties Hall of Famer Warren Spahn’s record of five times in a season with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1958.
In his final at-bat, he grounded out, finishing 4-for-3 with one home run, two RBIs, and one run scored. This brings his season numbers to .282 with 17 home runs, 44 RBIs, and a .919 OPS in 63 games. The Angels won the game 5-4 behind Ohtani’s performance.
As he continues to explode at the plate, he’s one home run away from breaking Span’s record.
The problem is that even with this batting performance, he’s slowly losing steam in the MVP race. On the mound today, “starter” Ohtani was unable to combine a quality start with a win, allowing three runs on five hits (one homer) and six walks (five balls, one hit by pitch) while striking out six in five innings.
He gave up a leadoff walk in the first inning and a double to Jared Kellenick in the second, and then a leadoff walk and a hit-by-pitch put runners on second and third in the fifth. He gave up an RBI single up the middle to Ty France to tie the game at 3-3. He ended the inning with a strikeout, but with his pitch count already up to 97, he was replaced by Ben Joyce and did not get the win.
This season, Ohtani has struggled to pick up wins due to a combination of sharp velocity struggles and unexpected long balls. He has 34 strikeouts in 76 innings and has already given up 11 home runs. He’s also fallen behind in the Cy Young race with a 5-2 record and 3.32 ERA in 13 games.
A big part of Ohtani’s unanimous MVP honors in 2021 was his ability to put together a full season of two-hitting, the likes of which hasn’t been seen in over 100 years since Babe Ruth. A .257 batting average, 46 home runs, 100 RBIs, and a .964 OPS in 158 games as a hitter in 2021, and a 9-2 record and 3.18 ERA in 23 games as a pitcher, is not enough to win MVP honors in either category. It’s significant because it’s the first time a player has done both at the same time. 먹튀검증
This year, however, Ohtani hasn’t been able to make much more than a grade-A impact on the mound. His chances of a second MVP are fading as he continues to struggle with his pitches. Laughing at Ohtani’s struggles on the mound is Rival Jersey, who is batting .291 with 19 home runs, 40 RBIs, and a 1.078 OPS in 49 games.