Shohei Ohtani’s domination on the mound and in the batter’s box has grown so routine that it almost seems daily. Ohtani struck out 13 over eight excellent innings in a 5-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night, the night after he homered twice and drove in a career-high eight runs in a wild extra-inning loss. When he hit a pair of three-run home runs and added two sacrifice flies on Tuesday, the current American League MVP set the game record for RBIs by a Japanese-born player. It should come as no surprise that Ohtani is the only player in history to have at least eight runs batted in and at least ten hitters struck out in a row. The only other participant is Tony Cloninger.
Ohtani set his previous career-high in strikeouts back in April, when he dismissed 12 Houston Astros. He’s still yet to record an out in the ninth inning during his time in Major League Baseball, though he threw several complete games with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, his team in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league.
Ohtani’s final line saw him allow two hits and a walk without giving up a run, earned or otherwise. He struck out those aforementioned 13 batters on 108 pitches, with 71 going for strikes. Statcast classified him as recording 14 swing-and-misses on the night, including seven on his slider. Ohtani being Ohtani, he also recorded a hit, an infield single, and drew a walk as a batter.
Ohtani entered the night having started 11 times this season. In those contests, he’d recorded a 3.28 ERA (122 ERA+) and a 5.13 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Offensively, he’d batted .260/.331/.489 (132 OPS+) with 15 home runs and seven steals
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