April 27, 2021

Ohtani: First Pitcher With 2 Hits & 3 Runs While Striking Out 9+ Since Luis Tiant 54 Years Ago

Shohei Ohtani continues to make history. Last night, he became the first player in nearly 100 years to start a game on the mound while also atop MLB's home run leaderboard.

Ohtani, batting second, walked in the top of the first and eventually scored - before he got to the mound.

Ohtani is the first pitcher in nearly 55 years to have 2+ hits, score 3+ runs, and strikeout 9+ batters (Luis Tiant, Cleveland, June 11, 1967*). The last American League pitcher to have 2+ hits and score 3+ runs in a game was Jim Perry of the Twins (May 1, 1971). 

*: MLB.com's article incorrectly reports the year as 1961.

Ohtani is also the first pitcher in Angels history to have three hits, two runs scored and two RBI. However, three Angels pitchers have scored three runs in a game:

Ken McBride, June 10, 1962 versus Royals (also 3 hits)
Joel Piñeiro, June 11, 2010 at Dodgers (went 0-for-2!)
Shohei Ohtani, April 26, 2021 at Texas also 2 hits, 2 RBI)

Ohtani allowed four runs, all in the first inning. He retired 13 in a row at one point, and completed five innings before developing a blister on the inside of his right middle finger and being pulled after 75 pitches. ("It's different from my last one and was barely starting to form. . . . I could've gone another inning.")

Ohtani's second-inning double had an exit velocity of 113.8 mph. Later, he was clocked at 29.3 feet per second when he scored on a single by Mike Trout. Statcast considers 30 feet-per-second to be "elite" speed.

Speaking of Trout, he is doing pretty well (.426/.539/.820). He leads MLB in on-base and slugging. His OPS (1.359) is more than 150 points higher than the AL's #2 hitter, J.D. Martinez (1.199). Trout trails Yermin Mercedes in batting average by .003.

Corbin Burnes of the Brewers lost to the Marlins last night, but he did not issue a walk. He fanned nine, giving him 49 strikeouts this season without a walk. The MLB record for the most strikeouts in a season before walking anyone is 51, by reliever Kenley Jansen. Burnes (the anti-Eddie Yost) will face the Dodgers on Saturday.

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