Baseball prince Shohei Ohtani got knocked around in his last start against the Red Sox and had to leave the game after two innings due to a blister on his pitching hand. That was a bummer, mostly because blisters have a way of being incurable nuisances capable of undermining entire seasons. So when Ohtani took the mound against the world champion Astros last night, it was hard not to worry that he was in for more blister-assisted trouble.
Ohtani wasn’t as untouchable as he was in his first two starts, nor was he the mess we saw against Boston. Instead, he performed about how you’d hope for a young but supremely talented pitcher facing one of the meatiest lineups in the game. There were shaky moments: five walks and four earned runs in 5.1 innings. But there was also plenty to remain encouraged by: seven strikeouts, including back-to-back dismantlings of José Altuve. There was also heat. Lots and lots of heat.
I don’t think anyone but the sourest of baseball dopes need more reasons to geek out over Ohtani, but if you do (or if you are indeed a sour baseball dope), those fastballs are right there for you. I’m particularly mesmerized by the one featured in the GIF at the top of the page. Anyone who can spot 101 on the corner like that has a pretty high ceiling.