OAKLAND — Shohei Ohtani put up a typical performance for an athlete of his caliber on Thursday night.
In the 2-1, loss on Opening Night, the two-way phenom struck out 10 batters, giving up one hit in six innings.
With that, he joined a very prestigious group.
10+ pitching strikeouts, 0 runs allowed & 1+ hits as a batter on #OpeningDay:
— Matt Birch (@MattBirch12) March 31, 2023
According to Angels senior communications member Matt Birch, Ohtani’s numbers on Opening Day matched those of the following pitchers in the history of the game:
Francisco Liriano, Pirates (2016)
Andy Messersmith, #Angels (1970)
Chris Short, Phillies (1965)
Juan Marichal, Giants (1962)
Lon Warneke, Cubs (1934)
Not to mention, Ohtani was fresh from his campaign when he assisted Team Japan to victory in the World Baseball Classic. There, they defeated teammate, Mike Trout’s Team USA, merely a week ago.
“Well, he kind of dominated us a little bit with 10 punchouts and in doing that, we knew our goal — we knew what we were up against tonight, we wanted to get Ohtani out of the game as soon as possible,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said after the game. “It took a little bit longer than what we would have liked, but we got to the bullpen and we were able to take advantage of that, so overall, you look up at the board and Ohtani’s throwing 100.7 mph to [Conner] Capel on the inside corner after dropping a sweeping slider … that was great.”
The Angels loss also was rare. Ohtani’s outing, according to MLB’s Sarah Langs, was the 26th since at least 1901 with 10-plus strikeouts and no runs allowed on Opening Day. It was the first time that a pitcher’s team lost the game.
Shohei Ohtani’s outing was the 26th since at least 1901 with 10+ strikeouts and no runs allowed on Opening Day
it’s the first time that pitcher’s team lost the game
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) March 31, 2023
Following his outing, Ohtani went in the designated hitter spot where he was intentionally walked by A’s reliever Trevor May in the top of the seventh inning.
You can never be too careful.
Got to give credit where credit’s due, however.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, A’s outfielder Estuery Ruiz singled to right field and started a scoring frenzy for the A’s. Tony Kemp doubled soon after to lift Oakland up, 2-1.