A unicorn is usually defined as “a mythical animal generally depicted with the body and head of a horse with long flowing mane and tail and a single often spiraled horn in the middle of the forehead.”
Or, they could’ve just gone with “A unicorn is Shohei Ohtani.”
In this space, we’re going to discuss (and try to analyze) what mind-boggling efforts and accomplishments the Los Angeles Angels’ two-way star puts together on a week-to-week basis — because it’s the right thing to do.
Yes, we must highlight the greatness that is unfolding before our eyes. The world doesn’t deserve Shohei Ohtani, but he somehow exists — and we should be talking about him as much as possible.
What did Shohei Ohtani do on Monday? Claim the league lead in homers with another ridiculous bomb
Remember last week, when Ohtani somehow hit this over the Green Monster? Well, he apparently wasn’t content with just that. Behold what he did to this Sam Hentges offering at his elbows, sending it to its demise into the seats:
With that shot, Ohtani became the sole home run leader of the season (he’s tied for second entering Sunday’s action). His current 2.37 ERA is nothing to sneer at either.
What did Shohei Ohtani do on Tuesday? Further extend his homer lead with a 440-foot blast
In his very first at-bat with the Angels down 5-0 in the first inning and missing Mike Trout, Ohtani did this:
I don’t know what I like more — the home run itself, or the strut that came the moment the ball left his bat.
What did Shohei Ohtani do on Wednesday? Literally everything
The Angels ultimately fell to Cleveland, 3-2, on a day in which Ohtani:
Was the starting pitcher and threw 4 2/3 innings of two-run, two-walk, five-strikeout ball
Hit second in the lineup and went 1-3 with a single
Played in the outfield (again)
But the most impressive thing for me about the do-it-all outing was that single — which came on an infield bunt.
Cleveland put a shift on for Ohtani so the unicorn decided, “Yeah, I’ll bunt,” unlike most other hitters who see a shift and say “YOU CAN’T DEFEAT ME,” try to pull the ball anyway and ground out directly into the shift. He then proceeded to display Flash-like speed to make it to first base.
It was a well-executed bunt and a slightly difficult defensive play for Jose Ramirez, but even a perfect throw wouldn’t have mattered — Ohtani was just too damn fast.
One note that should be addressed: During this start on the mound, Ohtani displayed decreased velocity, and that should raise alarms to anyone who knows even a fraction about pitching. He came out and said he’s not worried about a hidden injury, instead saying his body felt “heavy” and “sluggish,” so here’s hoping this isn’t a sign of a more serious issue and the Angels give their best player a day off — especially when their other best player is already on the shelf.
What did Shohei Ohtani do on Saturday? Show off the jets again
Ohtani wrapped up Saturday’s loss against the A’s going 2-for-4 with a double and a triple. He now leads the majors in both extra-base hits and total bases.
Just look at how he legged out this ground-ball hit for that aforementioned double:
Whose mind did Shohei Ohtani blow this week?
J.J. Watt — another star athlete of the freakish variety — tweeted exactly what the point of this whole column is:
My thoughts exactly, J.J.
And then there’s Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman — who’s having a pretty good season in his own right — echoing what many of us are thinking any time there’s an Angels game being played:
Welp, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Ohtani is now officially the favorite to win the AL MVP award in 2021. The second closest candidate is now Vladimir Guerrero Jr., at +600.
Suffice it to say, oddsmakers think a healthy Ohtani runs away with the MVP this season.
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