With a fastball at 100 mph, the first two-way All-Star pitched a perfect first inning for the American League on Tuesday night. He went 0 for 2 with a pair of strikeouts at home, refused a hit by a fine defensive play early in the game.
“More people are watching baseball,” he said through a translator. “It makes me happy and it’s good for the sport. “
It seemed like all the focus was on the Los Angeles Angels sensation as the All-Star Game returned from a year-long absence caused by a pandemic. He is the major league home runner and one of the top pitchers in the American League.
He was both the AL’s starting pitcher and his designated hitter at Coors Field. He was replaced by Lance Lynn on the mound in the second inning, but under an adjustment of the rules made just for him was allowed to remain as a DH. He went for a pinch hitter in the fifth inning.
The players of the two canoes were hooked to the rails to watch him.
“It was the best, most memorable experience,” he said. “Obviously I’ve never played in the playoffs or the World Series, so once I do, it’s probably going to overtake him. But it was the most memorable. “
Ohtani took part in the Home Run Derby on Monday night, won by Mets’ Pete Alonso. Ohtani hit 28 dingers, the longest at 513 feet, and was knocked out by Fernando Tatis Jr. in the second overtime of the first round.
After a full day, Ohtani slept until 10:30 a.m.
“It was a lot more tiring compared to the regular season, but if everyone was having fun, that’s fine with me,” he said.
Washington’s Max Scherzer, just the sixth pitcher to start four All-Star Games, started Ohtani with a 95.5 mph fastball to start the night. The left-handed batter put his second ground offering to the right side of second base, where Pittsburgh’s Adam Frazier pulled away to do a backhand pickup and pitched to first to take out the quick Ohtani.
A 27-year-old right-hander Ohtani pulled out Tatis, Max Muncy and Rockies fan favorite Nolan Arenado, in order in the bottom half, throwing 10 of 14 shots for strikes.
Throwing up to 100.2 mph, Ohtani used seven fastballs, four sliders, two dividers and a cutter. His speed was above the 95.5 mph regular season average for his fastball.
“It was on purpose,” he said. “I was only going one run so I didn’t have to think about going any further in the game so let it tear itself apart. “
Tatis, wearing pointe shoes with a pink trim and matching jersey sleeves, flew to the left on a cutter at the end of his bat leading to the bottom half. Muncy was second and Arenado, traded from Colorado to St. Louis last winter, was down on a shortstop.
Ohtani is the first player to pitch and play a position regularly since Babe Ruth made 19 starts for the Boston Red Sox in 1918 and 15 in 1919. Ruth hit 11 home runs in 1918 and 29 the following year, and at From 1920, it made only four departures. for the remainder of his big leagues career, which ended in 1935.
Ohtani is hitting 0.279 with 33 homers and 70 RBIs in his fourth season in the major leagues. He’s 4-1 with a 3.49 ERA in 13 starts, striking out 87 on strikes and walking 35 in 67 innings.
“It was definitely more fun than nervous,” Ohtani said. “I really want to be back at the All-Star Game. ”