On Opening Day, Shohei Ohtani picks up precisely where he left off during his MVP season
On Opening Day, Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani looked like he was still in MVP contention while pitching against the Houston Astros.
The amazing 2021 season of Shohei Ohtani was no fluke. In his Opening Day start against the Astros, the Angels pitcher appeared to be on a mission to show that.
On Thursday night, Ohtani batted first and took the mound against Jose Altuve and his teammates.
The first hitter he faced, Altuve, struck out, setting the tone for the rest of the game.
Houston took a 1-0 lead in the third inning after Michael Brantley doubled and Alex Bregman singled to bring him home.
Despite this, Ohtani was on fire, striking out nine batters in 4.2 innings.
Shohei Ohtani has eight (pitching) strikeouts tonight through 4.0 IP.
That is an #Angels record for the first 4.0 innings of an #OpeningDay game.
The club record for an entire #OpeningDay game is 12 strikeouts by Nolan Ryan in 1973 and 1975.
— Matt Birch (@MattBirch12) April 8, 2022
After a brief spring training, the Angels withdrew their ace at the beginning of the fifth inning to protect his arm. For the time being, fans will have to make do with shorter appearances from the celebrity.
Last year, Ohtani became an All-Star for the first time, hitting 46 home runs while pitching to a 3.18 ERA and a 9-2 record in 23 starts. Since Babe Ruth, the two-way player has done things in baseball that no one has seen before.
Ohtani’s best may still be on the road as he continues to develop his arm and bat at the age of 27. With Mike Trout fully healthy, the idea this year is to turn his individual success into tea success. Since 2014, the Los Angeles Lakers have missed the playoffs every year. It’s about time Ohtani got a chance to shine in both October and April.