What did Shohei Ohtani do this week? Hit his 40th homer while pitching a gem

What did Shohei Ohtani do this week? Hit his 40th homer while pitching a gem

A unicorn is usually defined as “a mythical animal generally depicted with the body and head of a horse with long flowing mane and tail and a single often spiraled horn in the middle of the forehead.”

Or, they could’ve just gone with “A unicorn is Shohei Ohtani.”

In this space, we’re going to discuss (and try to analyze) what mind-boggling efforts and accomplishments the Los Angeles Angels’ two-way star puts together on a week-to-week basis — because it’s the right thing to do.

Yes, we must highlight the greatness that is unfolding before our eyes. The world doesn’t deserve Shohei Ohtani, but he somehow exists — and we should be talking about him as much as possible.

What did Shohei Ohtani do on Tuesday? Steal his 17th base of the season

The same way Ohtani is virtually guaranteed to hit 40-plus homers this season, he’s now pretty much set to surpass the 20-steal mark.

Now, I know I’ve harped on this before, but think about how mind-boggling this is. A baseball player who will have 40+ home runs, 20+ stolen bases, an ERA hovering around a great-to-elite mark, and over 110 strikeouts on the mound.

We are all witnesses.

What did Shohei Ohtani do on Wednesday? Where do I even start?

I’m starting to get sick of typing, “Shohei Ohtani might’ve locked in those MVP tickets,” but it’s hard to describe days like Wednesday without mentioning that he is and should be the Most Valuable Player of the American League in 2021.

Let’s break it down:

  • Ohtani pitched and led off against the Detroit Tigers.

  • He threw 90 pitches in eight innings (we were unfortunately denied a complete-game performance), totaling eight strikeouts and allowing just one run.

  • He also clobbered an eighth-inning pitch for his league-leading 40th home run of the year. Does he get to 50?

I really, really hope that this season is talked about for years to come. And we should, as this tweet exemplifies:

What did Shohei Ohtani do on Thursday? Everything you want a leadoff hitter to do

The job of a leadoff hitter is, while difficult in practice, simple on paper. Set the table for the rest of the lineup. Get on base; keep the lineup moving. Do everything in your power not to make an easy out, and, when (and if) the time comes, score a run.

Shohei Ohtani did all of those things on Thursday, one day after pitching eight innings.

He walked twice, had two hits (one collected an RBI) and scored two runs. Perhaps most importantly, though, he didn’t strike out in any of his five plate appearances. That might seem minor, but when your team is trying to come back from a 10-2 hole, every at-bat counts.

Oh, the Angels would come back to win, 13-10.

We have now reached the stage in Ohtani’s betting-odds journey called, “There’s no value in betting on him but no value in betting on anyone else either.”

Look, as long as health remains (and here’s to hoping it will), Ohtani is what most in the betting community call a “lock” for the MVP. -2000 just means the reward won’t be as sweet when he does win if you bet it straight up.

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