Due to the rain, the Los Angeles Angels were not in action on Wednesday. By keeping superstar Shohei Ohtani and dealing for All-Star starting pitcher Lucas Giolito, they managed to win in the short run. Ohtani gave the Angels one of the greatest single-day performances in history on Thursday, when they faced the Detroit Tigers in a doubleheader at Comerica Park.
Ohtani did not allow a Tigers runner to advance past third base in the first game of the doubleheader (LAA 6, DET 0), in which he struck out eight batters in a one-hit shutout. His first complete game in the MLB and his first since 2017, when he was playing for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan, saw him throw 111 pitches. Ohtani was amazing in every way.
“I think it was good for the team and good for me personally as well,” Ohtani told the Los Angeles Times about the complete game. “I didn’t really think much and attacked the hitters one by one. I’m glad I was able to pitch until the end.”
After his bullpen-saving complete game, Ohtani added two more home runs to his MLB-leading total of 39 in the second game of the doubleheader (LAA 11, DET 4). No player in the American League in the world has more than 32 home runs. The 16th multi-homer game in Ohtani’s MLB career—and his fourth this year—is shown below.
During the sixth inning of the second game of the doubleheader, Ohtani was replaced by a pinch-hitter. After the second home run swing, he was seen being pulled at his back, and the Angels later revealed he left the game due to cramps. The Angels were wise to take a prudent approach in light of Ohtani’s workload on Thursday, his significance to the team, and the fairly lopsided score.
Since Sonny Siebert did it for the Boston Red Sox against the Baltimore Orioles on September 2, 1971, Ohtani is the first player to pitch a shutout and hit two home runs on the same day. Since Rick Wise hit two home runs in his no-hitter for the Philadelphia Phillies against the Cincinnati Reds on June 23, 1971, he is the first player to have a one-hitter and two home runs on the same day.
Overall this season, Ohtani has pitched 120 2/3 innings with 156 strikeouts, a 3.43 ERA, and a 1.07 WHIP. He is batting.298/.395/.675 with 16 doubles, 7 triples, 38 home runs, 80 RBI, 79 runs, and 12 stolen bases while at the plate. In terms of triples, home runs, slugging, OPS, OPS+, total bases, and WAR, he is the majors’ leader.
The Angels took a chance by keeping Ohtani because if he leaves as a free agent after the season, all they would have left is a draft pick. But that’s limited thinking. The Angels have a chance at the postseason and days like Thursday if Ohtani is retained. He is the sport’s coolest player and most reliable bet. Risky is keeping him on your roster, not trading him for prospects.