Jack Morris wasn’t in the booth for it, because his racist ass was suspended indefinitely from Bally Sports Detroit, but Shohei Ohtani put on a show in Detroit.
In addition to becoming the first major leaguer with 40 homers this season, and breaking a tie with Reggie Jackson in 1982 for the Angels’ single-season dinger record by a lefty hitter, Ohtani pitched eight fabulous innings, giving up one run on six hits with eight strikeouts and no walks.
“Obviously, he’s an incredibly special talent and we got to witness all of it firsthand tonight,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said after the game.
Not only that, but the Angels got back to .500 for the season. They’re still fourth in the American League West and have basically no chance at the postseason, but at least Ohtani’s heroics are no longer being wasted on a losing team.
So, Ohtani leads the major leagues in homers (40), and slugging (.648), is second in OPS (1.011), fourth in RBI (87) and T9th in steals (18) with a 8-1 record and 2.79 ERA and 120 Ks.
“I don’t know what you can say about him that hasn’t been said before,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “He’s not going to win the Triple Crown, but he’s in the discussion for everything else. If you are a Cy Young or MVP voter, your eyes have to be wide open at this point.”
Wednesday night was the first time that Ohtani homered to support his own cause on the mound since his first start of the season, on April 4, going yard off Dylan Cease of the White Sox. Ohtani is now tied for the league lead in homers by a pitcher (the other 38 were as a DH). The other pitchers with two home runs have their own bits of interest, by the way. Atlanta’s Huascar Ynoa just came back from breaking his throwing hand as a result of punching the dugout in frustration back in May, while both home runs that Brewers righty Adrian Houser hit came off Daniel Castano, a Marlins southpaw who’s only made four major league appearances this year.