What the MSM missed in Ohtani's home run: By the numbers.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

I was thinking about Ohtani’s HR after reading MSM highlights

I think most of those highlight articles were written not having seen it live. They really seems to miss a lot of what happened in the moment, in the AB, and in the game.

While the dinger was awesome in itself, it came during a great AB in what felt like a critical moment at the time.

Ohtani didn’t just get a meatball to hit out as some have alleged. I’m not even sure that particular pitch was bad. It was an offspeed curve where they were busting him inside because the theory was he had trouble with inside pitches. I don’t think it was a "bad pitch".

Regardless, he only got to that pitch because he was having a good AB including fouling off some tough pitches.

Also, at the time, the outcome of the game seemed like it could hinge on that AB. Who knows, maybe it did.

Up to that point, Richards did not look at all like he had it that night. While it was great for the offense to come back and tie it up and then go ahead 3-2 on a wild pitch, I don’t think anyone thought 3 runs were going to win the game at that time.

So, Ohtani’s dinger came at a moment when it felt like the Angels were as likely as not to lose their 13th consecutive game to Cleveland.

As it turned out, Ohtani hit the dinger, Richards went in lockdown mode, the bullpen didn’t stutter at all, and it was an easy win.

But, at the time that felt like a pivotal moment against a team that had dominated the Angels.

It’s too bad all many in the MSM seem to have seen was Ohtani hitting a dinger because while it was that, it was also so much more.


If most of what I wrote above seems familiar, it means you are an avid reader of the Halos Heaven comments section because I just copy/pasted a comment I wrote earlier.

What I wanted to do in this article was dive into more detail about Ohtani's AB and what I meant by it being a good at bat and not just Ohtani getting a "meatball" to hit.

First, to be clear where my frustration was coming from, it was from comments like this from Jeff Passon on his twitter account:

Or this quote from the SBNation main MLB page:

Granted, it was a 74 mile an hour pitch from Josh Tomlin that was more than ready to get jacked up but it was still a great moment no matter how seemingly easy or hard it was to accomplish.

Given those kinds of comments, I wanted to break down the at bat a little bit and explain why this wasn't just a hitter getting a meatball to hit.

First of all, let's take the topic of the pitch being "74 miles per hour", which both authors use to imply the pitch was an easy one to hit.

What both authors seem to neglect, is that's just the typical speed of a Josh Tomlin curveball! Let's look at all of the pitches thrown in this at bat to Ohtani by pitch type and speed.


What we see here is that Tomlin threw Ohtani two types of pitches in this at far as Brooks Baseball is concerned anyway. He threw cutters and curveballs. The cutters were all around 85 mph and the curveballs were all around 74. So, there is nothing really "special" about 74 mph. It wasn't particularly slow as far as Tomlin curveball goes.

In fact, clearly, the pitch Ohtani hit for the home run, number 6, is basically clustered with the other curveballs Tomlin had well having the same basic horizontal movement. The vertical movement is about the same too, but I'm leaving that graph out for what I'm pretending is brevity.

In other words, in terms of both speed and movement, this pitch was a pretty typical Tomlin curveball. Not a hanger or anything of note to make it a "meatball".

What was a little different was the location.


It seems clear Cleveland's strategy was to pitch Ohtani inside and down, probably because of the belief that he has trouble with inside pitches given his swing. They really did this fairly well. They got him to swing at a couple of pitches outside the zone low, including fouling off what would have been strike 3.

That said, I don't know that that location is terrible. At that point, Tomlin had just bounced one in the dirt causing a run to score. He doesn't want to do that again. So, he throws a strike that is on the lower, inside part of the plate. Other than that, it seems like a typical curveball.

So, what makes it a "meatball" exactly? Is that really such a terrible pitch? It looks like an OK pitch and really good hitting to me!!!

Regardless, it took a good at bat for Ohtani to even GET to pitch number 6. So, even if someone wants to belittle the pitch he hit, it took a good at bat to get to a point where that pitch was even thrown.

Finally, I want to talk about how almost none of the MSM articles I read talk about what a big moment in the game that was. At the time, Richards had what appeared to be a rough first inning. He had thrown 25 pitches and allowed 2 runs. The Angels had not beaten Cleveland in 12 straight games. Cleveland just seems to OWN the Angels.

While the offense had come back, tied up the game, and then taken the lead on a wild pitch 3-2, at the time it felt like 3 runs were just not going to win this game. In fact, let's look at the win probabilities during Ohtani's at bat.


What this shows is that when Ohtani stepped up to plate to face Tomlin, the Angel's win percent was 57.1%. A little better than a coin flip. After he had a pretty good at bat causing Tomlin to throw a wild pitch, the Angel's win percent climbed to 65.6%. After Ohtani hit the three run homer, the Angels win percent rocketed to 85.4%

As it turned out Richards and the bullpen locked the game down from there, but his at bat was a HUGE pivotal swing in this game against a team the Angels have shown nothing but futility literally for years.

Ohtani's AB was huge for him. It was huge for the Angels. It was also just a lot of fun!!!

Moments like this are the reason I watch baseball.

I love baseball!!!! That is, when I'm not hating it....


This FanPost is authored by an independent fan. Tell us what you think and how you feel.

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