Ohtani allowed four leadoff singles on Tuesday, including three doubles, but only two of them scored thanks to allowing only one more hit to all other batters. He only struck out four, but more importantly walked none for just the second time this season.
In his first four starts this season, Ohtani walked 19 batters, a 22.6-percent walk rate. But he only has 16 walks in his last nine starts, trimming that walk rate to eight percent. The maturation caught the eye of the opposing manager.
“Yeah, he threw hard, all that, but he pitched today,” Alex Cora said, per Greg Beacham of the Associated Press. “You see him out there now, and he knows what he’s doing. It’s amazing what he’s doing. Unreal.”
The seven innings matched Ohtani’s season high. He’s lasted at least six innings in his last nine starts, and leads the Angels with six quality starts.
But that wasn’t all for Ohtani, who also doubled home a red-hot David Fletcher to start the scoring in the first, part of a three-run frame. He’s hitting .276/.362/.692 with a major-league-leading 31 home runs, an American League-leading four triples, and 18 doubles.
The Angels have four games remaining before the break, so it’s just hitting for Ohtani until Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Denver, where he will make history with double duty, starting at designated hitter and also pitching later in the game.
“You have to go back to Mr. Ruth to draw any comparisons,” Maddon said. “That just screams what this is all about. We all romanticize what it would have been like to watch Babe Ruth play. Now we’re living it. So don’t underestimate what we’re seeing.”
- J.P. Hoornstra at the Orange County Register has more on Anthony Rendon’s third injured list stint this season.
- Bill Plaschke at the Los Angeles Times says Ohtani is having the best season in baseball history.
- Kevin Goldstein at FanGraphs shares what goes on in draft war rooms.