The legend of Shohei Ohtani grew enormously Thursday.
Just one day after the Los Angeles Angels pulled him from the trade block, Ohtani did something he’s never done in his MLB career: Pitch a complete game. Ohtani, who went the distance 13 times during his career in Japan, allowed one hit and struck out eight in the Angels’ 6-0 win over the Detroit Tigers.
The last time Ohtani pitched more than eight innings in a game was almost six years ago in 2017 in his final for the Nippon-Ham Fighters. He had only pitched eight innings in an MLB game five times in his career and not since Sept. 29, 2022. As a batter, Ohtani went 0-5 from the plate.
Not only was the game monumental for Ohtani’s pitching career, but it also pushed the Angels closer to playoff contention. Baring the result of Los Angeles’ second game with the Tigers on Thursday, the Angels’ 53-49 record is only 3.5 games back of the Toronto Blue Jays for the third AL wild card spot. Los Angeles appears motivated to make the postseason after it decided not to trade Ohtani and even acquired Chicago White Sox pitch Lucas Giolito before the deadline.
On top of his pitching prowess, Ohtani still leads MLB with 36 home runs. He’s also the clear-cut AL MVP betting favorite at -1000, per BetMGM.