Shohei Ohtani continued to silence the critics with a dazzling performance at Angel Stadium this afternoon. First batter? Strikeout. Second batter? Strikeout. Third batter? Strikeout.
With a bevy of pitches in his arsenal, including his signature diving splitter with late, hard movement, Ohtani dominated an A’s lineup that ranks 4th in wRC+, 9th in home runs, and 6th in runs so far in 2018. Throwing harder and harder as the game progressed, Ohtani displayed a mid to high-90s fastball (even touching 100 mph several times) with movement, confounding A’s hitters who were clueless all afternoon.
Ohtani was perfect until the seventh inning, when Marcus Semien guessed outside fastball and pulled a hard-hit grounder past Ryan Schimpf, who made his Angels debut at third base.
By the time it was all said and done, Shohei Ohtani mesmerized an electric audience in the most exciting day game performance in years, underscoring the very reasons why nearly every front office in baseball clamored for his services this offseason. His line, 7 innings, 12 strikeouts, 0 runs, 1 hit (a single), and 1 walk in 91 pitches.
Surely, he will be headlining this Angels staff for the next half-decade and only added to the hype tonight.
After escaping his only jam of the game, this was his reaction.
Shohei Ohtani puts a bow on his masterpiece with his 12th strikeout, and a show of raw emotion. pic.twitter.com/uQUxDbQztC— Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite) April 8, 2018
Other things happened, too.
Mike Trout hit a home run! Ryan Schimpf drew a pair of walks, hit a home run, and struck out, staying true to his three true outcomes reputation.
Felix Pena made his Angels debut, too, surrendering a homer to Matt Joyce.
But Ohtani’s stuff, his command, and his poise is the real story here. He is special.