This story was excerpted from Rhett Bollinger’s Angels Beat Newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And the Subscription To get it regularly in your inbox.
HOUSTON – June has been quite the month for two-way star Shuhei Ohtani.
Otani excelled as a pitcher and hitter at the same time, hitting .298/.398/.575 with six shooters, six doubles and 17 RBI in 26 games, while he went 4-1 with 1.52 ERA and 38 strikes in 29 2/3 innings in five starts on hill. They capped off with a solid performance against the White Sox on Thursday, notching 11 on 5 2/3 innings to extend his points-free streak to 21 2/3 in round.
“Big talent, man,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “He has weapons, and he’s real.”
The reigning Major League Player of the Year has now put himself firmly in the running again this year and also appears to lock in the All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium on July 19, though he has yet to say whether he will run the Home Run Derby of the Year. second in a row.
Ohtani had an 11-game winning streak from June 4 to June 16 and hit Homer the hardest hit of his career on June 25 against the Mariners, with a 118 mph blast. He also had an incredible display on back-to-back days last week, notching a career high with a 13-stroke against the Royals on June 22 – a day after setting a career high with eight RBIs on the board.
However, Otani said it hasn’t changed much in the batter box, only that results are starting to show.
“Nothing in particular has really changed,” Otani said through translator Ibe Mizuhara. “Just playing better and putting the ball into play and getting good results.”
Ohtani got off to a relatively slow start by his standards, but is now putting up numbers very similar to what he did last season. He hits .266/.350/.514 with 18 wrecks, 15 doubles, eight base steals and 50 RBI through 76 games, while he’s 7-4 with 2.68 ERA and 101 hits in 74 runs in 13 starts on the hill.
His next appearance as a pitcher will likely come in Thursday’s series opener against the Orioles in Baltimore. Otani was dealing with a minor back injury but was in the lineup on Friday against the Astros – during which time he mashed his 18th goalkeeper to start scoring. He said it was something he was able to manage.