This was the greatest single day performance I have witnessed from an MLB player. It was an Ohtani masterclass today against the Tigers in a series the Angels had to have going into Toronto. The Angels completed the sweep of the afternoon doubleheader and it was led by none other than “The Unicorn” himself, Shohei Ohtani.
In game one, Ohtani got the start and absolutely carved the Tigers offense, allowing only one hit in a complete game shutout on the mound. It was the best start of Shohei’s MLB career as he struck out eight Detroit hitters and went the distance. What is more important about his pitching today is the fact that coming into today’s start, he had allowed thirteen earned runs over his last three outings. Thursday afternoon, he reversed all of those numbers and pitched an absolute gem with every one of his pitches working, lowering his season ERA to 3.43.
In game two, Ohtani flexed his power and dominated at the plate, launching two home runs, one to the opposite field, and the other to deep right center on a line. It is extremely rare that you see a player have such an incredible game on both sides of the ball. In fact, Shohei is the first player to throw a shutout and hit 2 home runs on the same day since Sonny Siebert in 1971. He is in elite company already in terms of talent, but it seems that every start, whether it be on offense or on the mound, he is breaking some record or making history in some way. This guy is a generational talent and it was on full display Thursday in Detroit.
Regardless of Shohei’s performance, the Angels needed to sweep this series against Detroit going into the showdown in Toronto against the Blue Jays, and they did just that. Hunter Renfroe had an excellent day at the plate, going 3-4 with two doubles in the first game of the doubleheader, and launching a home run to left in the second game to go along with three hits. Mickey Moniak had a solid day as well, going 3-8 with two runs scored in both games combined to extend his hit streak to 17 games and raise his average to an incredible .335.
I have to give a shout out to the Angel pitching staff today because even though the bullpen wasn’t needed in the first game, the entire staff stepped up in the second game. Patrick Sandoval had an excellent start to continue his great July, throwing five innings and only allowing two runs. In July, although only having three starts, Sandoval has a 2.08 ERA as opposed to his 7.11 ERA in June. The Angels are going to need this version of him for the rest of the season, and this type of run is exactly why I had high hopes for him after the World Baseball Classic.
The Angels are now 54-49, won eight of nine games, and are now only three games back of the final wild card spot which is occupied by the Angels next opponent, the Blue Jays. This next six game stretch is the most crucial of the year in my opinion as they face the best team in baseball, the Atlanta Braves, after Toronto.
Perry Minasian and the front office has made it clear that they are all in and making moves to supplement their needs. They acquired Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez in a massive deal to bring in the native Californian righty to the staff and upgrade the front end of their staff and add an arm to the bullpen. This will not be the last move in my eyes, and I am so glad to see this team move forward from the Ohtani trade debacle and make a push for the playoffs.