Shohei Ohtani has taken MLB by storm this year, his first with the Los Angeles Angels and first in the league.
Both as a pitcher and a hitter, he’s been one of the best players in the entire game so far. And he’s been doing some things you would never expect from a pitcher at the plate in this era.
Yet on Wednesday night as the Angels took on the Houston Astros, Ohtani looked like your average pitcher trying to swing the bat. The reason? Justin Verlander was dealing.
Just check out this sequence in the sixth inning, as Houston led 2-0.
.@JustinVerlander vs. Ohtani was the matchup we needed.
Advantage: JV pic.twitter.com/yvEiVH18rF
— MLB (@MLB) May 17, 2018
If this were the first time you ever saw Ohtani swing the bat, you’d think he was your normal National League pitcher in the obligatory position of doing his best to not look foolish. Yet on this occasion, it was two American League teams going at it, and Ohtani was batting second for the Angels on a night he pulling DH duties, rather than toeing the rubber.
Verlander does that to the best of them. And he certainly has had Ohtani’s number thus far, along with the rest of the Angels. At the time of this writing, at the top of the eighth inning, Los Angeles has managed just two hits against Verlander (none by Ohtani) and has scored nary a run.