Shohei Ohtani Impresses Against Chicago But Forced to Leave Early

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani in 2018
Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani in 2018. Photo by Peter Joneleit/CSM/REX/Shutterstock (9635290f)

Following his early struggles in the MLB, there have been a lot of people who didn’t believe that the LA Angels’ Shohei Ohtani could be a two-way force in the United States like he was in Japan. But Ohtani silenced most of them on Sunday night, delivering a historic performance against the Chicago White Sox.

Hitting and pitching in the same MLB game for the first time in his career, Ohtani started off with a fastball that clocked in at 100.6 mph and was the fastest pitch by any starting pitcher in the MLB this season. He followed that up with a home run, which, according to MLB’s official stats, traveled 451 feet and had an exit velocity of 115.2 mph.

Ohtani continued to terrorize Chicago until the fifth inning when a collision with the White Sox’s Jose Abreu forced him to exit the game. The 26-year-old player covered the plate after one of catcher Max Stassi’s drops when Abreu slid into him and made contact with his ankle.

Ohtani finished the night striking out seven, while nine of his pitches went over 100 mph. He was one for three at the plate, becoming the first pitcher in the MLB since 1903 to bat second in the lineup.

Angels manager Joe Maddon said that Ohtani’s exit was just a matter of precaution and that he is doing “fine” after the collision.

“What he did tonight was pretty special,” Maddon said about Ohtani’s performance. “You’re going to see a lot more of that season-in-progress. It was fun to watch and had everybody entertained. It’s what he signed up to do, and he had a chance to do it tonight.”