No one else in Major League Baseball is having a better season than Shohei Ohtani.
And on Wednesday, just a few days after being selected as an All-Star pitcher and bat, Ohtani continued his hot streak by achieving two historic feats at once.
The Los Angeles Angels defeated the Houston Astros 7-1 at Angel Stadium thanks to the two-way Japanese star, who went 2-for-4 with a two-run triple in the second inning and struck out 12 Houston Astros opponents over six innings.
He not only tied two records set by Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, but also won his sixth straight start.
Ohtani joined Ryan as the only pitcher in the history of the Angels organisation to record at least 10 strikeouts in four straight appearances.
In addition, he became the first Angels starter to hit a triple since Ryan did it against Minnesota on June 27, 1972.
“Obviously, it’s a huge honor to be in the same sentence with someone like Nolan Ryan,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. “But more than strikeouts, I’m looking to put up zeros and shut opponents out.”
The current American League MVP, Ohtani, has definitely established himself as a contender to win the award again this year.
Ohtani has had a significant impact on the Angels’ success this season, despite facing some tough competition from Yordan Alvarez of the Houston Astros and Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees.
They have a six-game winning streak when Ohtani begins due to a combination of his two-way abilities, but lately the squad has a 12-32 record overall.
Ohtani has made six starts and has a fantastic ERA of 0.45 while striking out 58 times in 39 2/3 innings.
“I’ve said it the last three or four times, but he puts us on his back,” Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said. “He knows what’s in front of him. The last few starts, we’ve lost a couple coming into it and he takes that personally.”
Ohtani was selected to play in the All-Star game as a pitcher and a batter for the second time in a row a few days ago.
A position player and a pitcher were both chosen for the All-Star Game before last season. He’s now done it twice in two years.
The Astros manager Dusty Baker, who will lead the American League squad in the All-Star Game on Tuesday, saw his performance on Wednesday. Afterward, Baker was glowing with adoration.
“He’s not just an All-Star, he’s a megastar,” Baker said. “One of the top offensive players and one of the top pitchers. And he’s smart — I can tell the way he plays the game, he’s talented, but he’s smart.”