Every time Shohei Ohtani steps onto a baseball field, it feels like something memorable is going to happen. Whether it’s a wicked strikeout, a home run or a long-held record falling by the wayside, Ohtani has become a walking human highlight.
Tuesday night featured the third of those three options aforementioned as Ohtani passed Babe Ruth for most strikeouts by a player with over 100 career home runs.
Ruth is credited with 501 strikeouts in his MLB career to go along with his 714 home runs while Ohtani entered Tuesday’s matchup with the rival Houston Astros with 134 home runs and 500 strikeouts.
He broke the record with a strikeout of Jeremy Pena in the second inning and finished the game with seven strikeouts in seven innings.
Ruth and Ohtani are the only players to eclipse 100 homers and 500 strikeouts.
Despite the accomplishment, the Angels fell to the Astros, 3-1, as Ohtani picked up his first loss of the season. It was also only the second game Ohtani has pitched in this season that Los Angeles has not won.
“It’s a great thing to pass him, but I felt like I could’ve struck out more hitters today,” Ohtani said after the game through his interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. “It’s still early in the season. I just want to stay healthy.”
Shohei Ohtani picked up his first loss of the year after breaking Babe Ruth’s record
Shohei Ohtani allowed three runs in the fifth inning, which was the difference in the game.
The Astros pitching staff, led by Framber Valdez, allowed only three hits to Los Angeles hitters. Ohtani was 0-for-3 hitting in the three-hole.
It is early in the year but Ohtani’s 2023 season is already shaping up to be another historic one for the still 28-year-old global superstar. He is hitting .294, which would mark a career-high in batting average, to go along with a .362 on-base percentage, seven home runs and 21 runs scored.
On the mound, Ohtani is 4-1 with a league-leading 66 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.74. He also leads the major league in Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference, at 2.4.