Ohtani stayed hot, going 3-for-5 with a solo homer in the fifth off lefty Danny Duffy, giving him his team-leading fourth of the season. It was his first blast since Friday and Ohtani made it count, as he smacked it a projected 431 feet, according to Statcast, to center field. It was yet another example of Ohtani being a force at the plate, as he’s batting .364/.391/.795 in 11 games this season
“Pretty spectacular, right?” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “He’s going up there with so much confidence. You can’t have any more than that. I think that’s all a human is permitted to have. And you’re seeing it with his swing and his approach, and how hard he is hitting the ball. Everything about his game.”
Ohtani, though, did it with his legs in the first inning, reaching on an infield single on a routine grounder to shortstop Nicky Lopez. Ohtani reached 29.5 feet per second on his way to first, which is just slightly below the threshold of 30 feet per second that is regarded as elite. For context, the MLB average is 27 feet per second.
Ohtani’s speed is an underrated part of his game, as he entered the game ranked first on the Angels and eighth in the Majors in average sprint speed, per Statcast.
He lined out to left to open the third on a 3-1 slider from Duffy, but got all of the lefty’s 1-0 slider in the fifth. The solo shot, which had an exit velocity of 108.9 mph, gave Ohtani his ninth extra-base hit of the year, as he’s also doubled three times and tripled twice this season.
“It’s awesome, especially as a pitcher just watching him,” said right-hander Dylan Bundy, who gave up three runs (two earned) over seven solid innings. “You know when he goes up to the plate it’s gonna be a productive at-bat usually. And he doesn’t get cheated when he takes a swing so I like it.”
In the seventh, Ohtani hit another slider from Duffy hard, but second baseman Whit Merrifield robbed Ohtani with a great leaping catch. It was yet another hard-hit ball by Ohtani, as it left the bat at 107.9 mph and had an expected batting average of .890, per Statcast.
Ohtani’s third hit came in the ninth off closer Greg Holland with one out and brought up Mike Trout with two on. Again, Ohtani smoked his single, as it had an exit velocity of 111.3 mph. It was the fourth ball hit at least 110 mph by Ohtani this season. Trout, though, struck out — his fourth of the game — and David Fletcher was thrown out at third to end the game on a ball that nearly got away from catcher Salvador Perez.
The Angels caught some bad luck on the play, as the ball bounced off Perez and then the hitter, Jared Walsh, leaving Fletcher in a tough spot. Fletcher, though, said Ohtani’s big night helped set up that opportunity and he’s been nothing but impressed by the two-way sensation.
“We all know what he’s capable of and he’s basically doing that now that he’s healthy,” Fletcher said. “He’s put it all together and it’s very impressive.”
The Angels are also still deciding when Ohtani will throw his next bullpen session after throwing a light one on Monday. Ohtani has been dealing with a blister on his right middle finger and the club is hopeful he could return to the mound at some point next week.
“We just got to get his finger well enough to put him back on the mound,” Maddon said. “And we’re getting closer to that. But it’s really been fun to watch. He’s a very humble young man. He does all of his work properly and now he’s seeing the fruits of his labor.”