In the Angels ‘8-0 victory, every aspect of the players’ limitless skills on both sides was displayed on the mound and on the plate.
BOSTON – Shohei Ohtani had already hit a ball at 109 mph and had thrown 81 of his 99 pitches for a strike, so in the eighth inning of perhaps the biggest game ever played here, he hit a fastball from the green when he got to the plate. The monster knocked his own number off the wall so hard.
“He’s the best player in the league,” Red Sox starter Rich Hill told reporters after Thursday’s game and that the Angels had won the series 8-0. “I think this is something that everyone can agree on. It’s special to see someone like that coming along. I think everyone should really appreciate what we’re seeing, because it’s something we haven’t seen in 100 years, and we’ll probably never see it again for another 100 years. “
Indeed, the home team did not see a win at 29,476 at Fenway on Thursday. But they saw history. When he dug into Batter’s box in the first inning, Ohtani became the first starting pitcher to reach the top four in the lineup after Bebe Ruth in 1919. (Ruth IV, Ohtani III.)
Then Ohtani went to work and left Ruth behind. One year after winning the American League MVP award unanimously, Ohtani, 27, has a chance to do even better. His offensive numbers have dwindled, as have all others, but his command over the mound is the best of his career. He leads the league in strikeouts per nine innings with 14.1 and has only run five men this year.
Both figures improved on Thursday, when he scored 11 runs and not a single run in seven innings. Only 11 times a pitcher has hit more batsmen here and without allowing runs or walks. And none of that went 2-4-2 in the plate.
In fact, Ohtani became the second starting pitcher to record a hit at Fenway since the implementation of the designated hitter in 1973. (Roger Clemens also fielded DH Jose Canceco on the left in ’96 when the Red Sox fielded; give the rocket a point there, as he finished the season with an average of 1.000.)
Asked if this was his best game in the major leagues, Ohtani was disappointed. “It was better than last time,” he said. (Eight days ago, against the Guardians, he scored two runs in five innings and scored 3-5-3.)
“It’s from another world,” said manager Joe Madden. “I just hope people understand how unusual it is, what you see and please never assume that.”
The Red Sox should be grateful that such talent is so unusual. Ohtani stunned them, no worse than Trevor Story, who blew the splitter to start the outing and then hit the foul-tipped fore-seamer to end it and whipped the fore-seamer and slider in between. Ohtani made career-high 29 swings and misses, striking out the batsmen on each of the four pitches. He went to three two ball counts and one three ball count. All three were eliminated. Catcher Max Stacey said the last — Fourth Strike Out of the Story होती was the most impressive thing he had seen throughout the day.
“Once we got to [3-0 count], I was like, ‘Dude, we weren’t here all day!'” Stacey said, moving his gloves in seven innings. “Then, all of a sudden, 3-0, right in the middle; 3-1, little up, swing and a miss; 3-2, coming back to the heater right away. That was cool. “
Rotationmate Patrick Sandoval was more concise: “It’s ugly,” he said appreciatively.
First baseman Jared Walsh just kept the distance. “He has 100 in his back pocket, it looks like he’ll need it someday,” he said. “It blows me away. I’m playing behind it, and I think I don’t want any part of that splitter, that curveball, that 100-mile-one-hour fastball. It’s incredible.” When Ohtani threw a 100-mph fastball on his 68th pitch, Walsh turned to first base umpire Nestor Seja.
“No, there are only 100 in the [fifth] innings whenever I need to,” he said.
“Incredible, man,” replied Seja.
“I think everyone is walking around, ‘How can anyone have that much talent?'” Walsh said. “And he goes and hits  -foot singles.”
It was the eighth inning rocket that traveled at 104 mph, tackled the Angels’ fourth run and knocked Ohtani’s number 17 off the wall. That was fine. He was no longer needed. His work was done.