For those who were wondering exactly “what was wrong” with Shohei Ohtani at the start of the 2022 season, the reigning American League MVP and Los Angeles Angels superstar sent a reminder on Thursday afternoon that the answer was “nothing.”
There has been plenty of discussion about Ohtani’s slow start at the plate (slashing .230/.294/.390 heading into Thursday, leading to some early bat CPR from Ohtani himself) and his un-Ohtani like numbers on the mound as well (a 4.19 ERA but also a 2.11 FIP and 1.086 WHIP) in his first four starts of the season. However, all of that went out the door on a sun-splashed day at Fenway Park on Thursday in what would be an eventual 8-0 win for the Los Angeles Angels.
Shohei Ohtani put up some video game-type numbers against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park
In seven innings of work on the mound against the Boston Red Sox (making his first career start at Fenway Park), Ohtani scattered six hits and struck out 11. Among the biggest victims? Boston offseason free agent acquisition Trevor Story, who struck out four times in four at-bats. Ohtani showed plenty of emotion when he whiffed Story in the bottom of the seventh with a 97.6 mph fastball, making his final pitch of the afternoon count in a big way.
Welcome to the Ohtani Sho! 🔥
— MLB (@MLB) May 5, 2022
Ohtani threw 99 pitches on Thursday, with 81 of those going for strikes, making it arguably the best outing by any pitcher this season. The efficient and effective outing pushed Ohtani to 3-2 on the season and lowered his ERA to 3.08.
He was also problematic for the Red Sox at the plate as well, going 2-for-4 with an RBI. His eighth-inning RBI single (which came off the bat at 103.7 mph) hit the Green Monster hard enough to knock Ohtani’s number off of it.
And, just to top the day off, Ohtani also had the game’s hardest hit ball, rocketing a fourth-inning single with an exit velocity of 109.2 mph.
Games like this are a reminder of just how special of a talent Ohtani truly is. He showed it through the 2021 campaign, and, on Thursday, nudged all of those who doubted he might be able to repeat some of those feats in 2022.