Painful reminder of Shohei Ohtani’s dominance for Yankees – .

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Painful reminder of Shohei Ohtani’s dominance for Yankees – .


You can let your imagination run wild all over the place when it comes to Shohei Ohtani and his alternate life as the Yankee.

Did you see him go deep two more times Tuesday night against Jameson Taillon at Yankee Stadium, giving him three homers in two games here, only for the Yankees to win, 11-5, ending their streak of four-way defeats? Dude, he makes it look easy, throwing balls at the inviting wall of the Yankees right field. Would he make a run for the American League of Roger Maris and the franchise record of 61 in stripes?

Then again, Ohtani’s path to his current status as AL’s favorite MVP has not been linear, much like the number of Yankees youth who have swayed in their development. How would this demanding fan base have endured Ohtani’s brutal 2020 (0.190 / 0.291 /, 366 slash line and 37.80 ERA), and how would Ohtani have endured the ensuing turmoil?

If nothing else, an Ohtani-Yankees union, even if it never reached that kind of pinch peak, would have kept Giancarlo Stanton’s contract out of the Bronx, reason enough for the Steinbrenners to consider this swing and miss out. with great regret.

Ohtani now leads the major leagues with 28 home runs, and in his penultimate at bat on Tuesday, he sent Brett Gardner to the center field warning track, 388 feet considerably deeper than his first home run (356), for a long seventh round. fly away; he crashed first to end the match, Luke Sees barely beating the speedster to the bag. He’s a marvel offensively, a bundle of athleticism and excitement, and oh by the way, he’ll start on the mound – and hit – for the Angels on Wednesday night.

Shohei Ohtani had the second of his two home runs in the Yankees' 11-5 win over the Angels.
Shohei Ohtani had the second of his two home runs in the Yankees’ 11-5 win over the Angels.
Bill Kostroun

“Seeing what he’s been up to this year, especially the last two nights, is pretty impressive,” said Aaron Judge, who hit a two-run homer for the Yankees. “It’s like any shot that’s over the plate, it’s going to be hit and it’s going to be hit hard. … He’s a generational talent, that’s for sure. We are delighted to see him on the mound [Wednesday].  »

“He’s what baseball needs, both as a player and as an example,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “It’s all about the moment. He is prepared, he seduces. … I like to watch him play baseball.

He is also, through no fault of his own, a key figure in Yankee history.

Do you remember the positive vibes that spread throughout the Yankees world after the 2017 season? Of course, they had failed at the Astros, for seven games in the AL Championship Series, but their future was so bright, so many talented young players led the club back to the playoffs. And with word that Ohtani would be leaving his native Japan to run for auction, the Yankees have established themselves as the perceived favorite due to their immense popularity in the Far East.

However, shortly after the Yankees sent their recruiting materials to the Ohtani agency, they learned they had not made the first cut, a huge disappointment. Did this disappointment cause them to pursue another star in Stanton, even though she costs over 10 times more than Ohtani?

Think about how contact-heavy DJ LeMahieu’s striking approach balanced the Yankees offense when he arrived on the scene in 2019. Now imagine Ohtani – left-handed, quick and a pitcher to boot – and the kind of balance he would provide, all especially as the Yankees were able to diversify their commitment to Stanton.

“Looks like he’s taken it to another level,” Aaron Boone said of Ohtani. “There is a little fear when he goes up there. “

Instead, the Yankees (41-38) find themselves adrift, occupying fourth place in the LA East, their general manager said Tuesday afternoon: “We suck right now”, the whole era of Baby Bombers falters before reaching a World Series. .

Maybe that would still be the case given Ohtani’s roundabout journey to the greatness and the harsh side of New York City. Certainly, however, the Yankees’ future would be brighter now.

Too upsetting to imagine? Forget that I said anything.

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