One of the leading subplots of the 2021 season continues to be Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani. While he's been an important member of the Halo's rotation this year, Ohtani has truly shined at the plate, mostly while serving as the team's DH when he's not pitching.
That was the case again on Friday night against the Orioles (BAL-LAA GameTracker) when he extended his major league lead with his 29th home run of the season. Here's the relevant color television footage:
Ohtani had been tied with injured teammate Mike Trout for the franchise record for most home runs in the first half, but now Ohtani owns that record all by himself.
But wait: That's not all! Soon after, Ohtani became the first MLB slugger to reach 30 home runs this season. Proof forthcoming:
That's 111 mph off the bat to the opposite field, and, yes, that's number 30. Not surprisingly, the blast occasioned another round of history for Ohtani:
That 30th home run extends his MLB lead over Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Blue Jays, who hit his 27th on Friday night. In his age-26 season, Ohtani is now batting .281/.363/.707 with 51 extra-base hits in 306 plate appearances. He's also stolen 11 bases. On the mound, Ohtani in 12 starts has pitched to a 3.60 ERA/128 ERA+ with 83 strikeouts in 60 innings. Not surprisingly, Ohtani is among the leading candidates for AL MVP honors as we approach the All-Star break.
Speaking of all things All-Star, Ohtani will represent the AL as the starting DH, and there's increasing chatter that he might even take the mound. Perhaps best of all is that Ohtani -- powerful left-handed stroke and ultra-elite exit velocities in tow -- will participate in the Home Run Derby at Coors Field.