Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Shohei Ohtani joins Babe Ruth in Fenway Park history with his 11-strikeout gem vs. Red Sox


Los Angeles Angels two-way player Shohei Ohtani had himself an eventful Thursday afternoon in an 8-0 win against the Boston Red Sox (box score), and in the process he accomplished something that hadn’t been done in Major League Baseball since Babe Ruth did it.

Ohtani, the American League’s reigning Most Valuable Player Award winner, made his fifth start of the season on Thursday and batted in the No. 3 spot as the Angels’ designated hitter. As a result, he became the first player to start a game hosted at Fenway Park on the mound and bat in the top four of a lineup since Ruth in September 1919, per the Red Sox broadcast. (Glove tap to Jason Foster of the Sporting News.)

Ohtani wasn’t merely content to make history on Thursday. He also made an impact on both sides of the ball.

The pitching portion of Ohtani’s game saw him strike out 11 batters over the course of seven shutout innings. He allowed six hits and walked none by throwing 81 of his 99 pitches for strikes. According to Statcast’s data, Ohtani topped out at 100.3 mph and he generated 29 swinging strikes: 10 on each on his fastball and slider.


Shohei Ohtani started as a pitcher and designated hitter in Thursday’s game against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Getty Images

At the plate, Ohtani went 2 for 4 and drove in his 13th run of the year. He even knocked his number off the Fenway Park scoreboard:

Ohtani entered Thursday with a 4.19 ERA (90 ERA+) and a 6.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 19 innings. Meanwhile, he’d hit .230/.294/.390 (103 OPS+) with four home runs and four doubles in 109 trips to the plate. Those marks are beneath his usual fare, so it’s reasonable to expect him to have more outbursts like Thursday heading forward.

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