It was expected Shohei Ohtani would be pretty good at this whole baseball thing in his move to MLB. Sure, there were some concerns it might take some time to get there after a slow spring, but, nah, Ohtani hit the ground running once the games counted, and now here we are.
Ohtani hit his fifth homer of the season Thursday, a solo shot, along with an RBI double. Those two hits (video of them here) brought his season line to .354/.400/.677, which under normal circumstances would be leading his team: Ohtani shares a lineup with Mike Trout, though, so his OPS+ of 189 is, regrettably, only good enough for second on the Angels.
That’s regrettable, of course, only for this made-up version of Ohtani I created to complete that sentence and begin this next one. The Angels have to be pleased that he’s mashing and still can’t match Trout, and they even have the bonus of Andrelton Simmons’ 153 OPS+ behind them. There’s a reason the Angels are 23-14 and in first place in the American League West, and it’s the lineup those three have helped power.
Ohtani has, of course, helped out with the pitching staff, too. The Angels’ have a 109 ERA+, which, if it holds up, would be the best the organization has managed since 2008 when they posted a 112 mark during a 100-win campaign. There’s a lot of season left for the Angels and Ohtani to have to maintain this level of success, of course, but the possibility exists that he’ll only get better on the mound with more experience facing MLB’s hitters, too.
And if Ohtani doesn’t, and he’s just an average-ish rotation arm in 2018? Then the Angels will have to settle for one of their best bats being “just” average, I guess.
- It’s been something of a Yankees-Red Sox rivalry week here at SB Nation MLB, as the AL East juggernauts faced off in New York. Grant Brisbee would like to remind you that you don’t need to care about them because they’re the Red Sox and Yankees, but that right now, when they’re two of the best, is still reason to watch like you would any other good teams playing.
- Maybe you play Fortnite on a regular television screen. Not the Brewers: they’ve got a jumbotron for that.
- Francisco Lindor lost a bet with his high school baseball team, and now he’s got a shaved head.
- Chris Tillman’s start is horrible, even for an Orioles’ starting pitcher.
- At least there’s hope for the 2019 O’s rotation.
- From our friends at Racked: Britni de la Cretaz wrote about the “honor” of a lipstick line inspired by the lipstick women baseball players were forced to wear.
- Rachael McDaniel has a feature up on Hardball Times this week, and it’s both heartfelt and wonderful.
- Whitney McIntosh has the week in review for you with the latest Mound Visits.
- Even if you don’t care about the Red Sox and Yankees rivalry, the feud between ’70s backstops Thurman Munson and Carlton Fisk was amazing.
- Oklahoma QB Kyle Murray has a decision to make between football and the MLB Draft, and here’s that decision explained by someone else who had to make it.
- Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts is frustrated with his lineup’s lack of production.