Shohei Ohtani (29-LA Angels) hit his 42nd home run of the season in three days, putting him just two away from becoming the all-time Major League Baseball (ML) home run leader.
Ohtani went 3-for-4 with a home run, one RBI and one run scored in the Angels’ 2023 Major League Baseball opener against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, on Sunday (July 17), starting at second and designated hitter.
It was Ohtani’s first multi-hit game in nine days after going 2-for-4 against the San Francisco Giants on Aug. 8, raising his season batting average from .302 to .306 and his OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) from 1.062 to 1.071.
The most impactful moment came in the top of the first inning. Ohtani took a two-seam fastball from Texas starter John Gray and smashed it over the center field fence. It was a 32-degree launch that soared so high that even Ohtani wasn’t sure it was a home run until it hit his bat.
But the power itself was overwhelming. Ohtani swung hard enough to knock his helmet off, and the ball traveled 437 feet (about 133 meters) at 109.1 miles per hour (175.6 kilometers per hour), hitting the center field wall and landing in the bullpen where the Angels’ pitchers were warming up.
With the home run, Ohtani moved to within one of Matt Olson (Atlanta Braves-43) for the major league lead. He already leads the American League (AL) by a significant margin over second-place Lewis Roberts (Chicago White Sox-32).
Ohtani is on pace to become the first two-hitter to lead the majors in home runs since Babe Ruth, but it won’t be easy. Unlike the American League, where there are no contenders, the National League has two serious contenders. The aforementioned Olson, in his eighth year in the big leagues, has three 30+ home run seasons under his belt, while Pete Alonso (New York Mets-36), who has been on a roll lately, hit 53 home runs in his first year in the big leagues in 2019. These two in particular have been on fire in August, with Ohtani slowing to three, including today’s homer, while Olson has seven (16 games) and Alonso has six (16 games).
However, there’s still reason for baseball fans to believe that Ohtani can still lead the majors in home runs. According to MLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball, 20 of Ohtani’s 41 home runs on Saturday were home runs that would have cleared the fence in any of the 30 ballparks. The same was true for today’s home run, meaning Ohtani hit half of his home runs (21 of 42) on pitches that would have cleared the fence in any ballpark. Olson was second with 19 of 43, followed by Roberts and Austin Riley (Atlanta Braves) with 16 of 32 and 16 of 29, respectively.온라인바카
Japanese outlet Full Count broke the news with the words, “No. 1 in destructive power, you can’t even complain,” and gushed, “Ohtani’s constant production of perfect home runs keeps you guessing until the end of the season.”
Even the man who hit the home run acknowledged that he lost the game cleanly. “When I threw it to Ohtani, I thought it went where I wanted it to go,” Gray said. But he was a different kind of guy,” Gray said tongue-in-cheek.