Angels' two-way star Shohei Ohtani hadn't pitched since Sept. 10 and there had been a few times in the days since where it seemed possible he'd thrown his last pitch of the season. He was officially scheduled to start on Friday, but it was pushed back due to arm soreness.
Ohtani was able to take the mound on Sunday and he sure didn't seem to be battling any arm issues. He was dominant and tied a career high with eight innings. He also got little help from his teammates in a 3-2, extra-inning loss to the A's, though they did score two runs in the ninth to force extras and spare Ohtani a tough-luck loss. Ohtani struck out 10, which was the third time this season he reached double digits, and only allowed two runs on five hits.
On the season, Ohtani has now taken 22 starts on the mound, working 123 1/3 innings. He's pitched to a 3.29 ERA and 1.11 WHIP with 146 strikeouts. Keep in mind this is in addition to hitting .257/.360/.592 with 25 doubles, five triples, 44 homers, 94 RBI, 93 runs and 23 stolen bases. Adding up his pitching and offensive contributions, Ohtani leads the majors in baseball-reference.com's version of WAR rather easily.
The Angels are not in playoff contention, sitting currently at 72-76. It'll be interesting to see how many AL MVP voters hold the poor performance from Ohtani's teammates against him, especially as Blue Jays superstar Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has a compelling case for MVP and is playing on a team currently in playoff position.
What Ohtani is doing is something we've never seen in our lifetimes. He's pitching at an All-Star level while being one of the most fearsome sluggers in the league and stealing more than 20 bases.