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Angels’ Shohei Ohtani rebounds from career worst start with seven strong innings, RBI double vs. Red Sox

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Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani took the mound Tuesday for the first time since his career worst start last week. Ohtani was charged with seven runs while recording only two outs against the Yankees last Wednesday, and he walked four of the nine batters he faced. He also hit another batter with a pitch.

Ohtani’s return to the mound Tuesday went much better than last week at Yankee Stadium. Against a strong Red Sox lineup (LAA 5, BOS 3), Ohtani surrendered two runs on five hits and zero walks in seven innings. He struck out four and got a little help from center fielder Juan Lagares, who robbed Xander Bogaerts of what would have been a go-ahead, two-run home run.

One start after walking four in less than an inning, Ohtani walked none and went to a single three-ball count Thursday — it is only his second career walk-less start (he also did it against the Mariners on June 4) — and he threw 65 of his 89 for strikes. That 73.0 percent strike rate is the highest in his 25 career starts. His previous career high was 70.5 percent against the Astros on May 11.

Now 13 starts into his season, Ohtani owns a 3.49 ERA with 87 strikeouts in 67 innings. He bounced back from last week’s disaster as well as anyone could’ve reasonably hoped. At the plate, Ohtani went 1 for 4 with a double to give the Angels their first run. He is now hitting .276/.362/.692 on the season, and his 31 home runs lead baseball. His four triples lead the American League.

Given the caliber of competition (i.e. the most talented and athletic players ever), it’s fair to say Ohtani is having one of the greatest seasons in baseball history. It’s not hyperbole. He shrugged off last week’s disaster start and again showed he’s one of the best pitchers in the game in addition to being one of the best hitters.

Ohtani’s peers voted him into the All-Star Game as a pitcher (fans voted him in as a hitter) and he’s going to participate in the Home Run Derby as well. The All-Star Game is next Tuesday, July 13, at Coors Field in Denver.




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