Shohei Ohtani throws opener’s fastest pitch this season, smashes strongest home run


ANAHEIM, California – Shohei Ohtani threw a 101 mph baseball on top of the first, then hit a 115 mph baseball a half inning later, a poignant start to a historic Sunday night for the sensation of roundtrip of the Los Angeles Angels. .

Ohtani, pitching and hitting in the same game for the first time in his career, retired three of the first four Chicago White Sox hitters he faced in the top half of the first inning, throwing three triple-digit pitches, including a 101 mph to Adam Eaton, who was followed by a nasty divider on the ground to record a strikeout.

In the bottom half, Ohtani made the first pitch he saw from White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease, a chest-high fastball at 97 mph, and threw it 451 feet into right field, giving himself some support in early career.

Ohtani’s pitch to Eaton (officially 100.6 mph) was the fastest pitch of any starting pitcher this season, and his home run (with a 115.2 mph exit velocity) was the strongest home run of the season by any player.

Ohtani, who underwent Tommy John surgery after his rookie season, had amassed just 53 1/3 innings as a pitcher since his major league debut in 2018. But Angels manager Joe Maddon has been committed to him as a two-way player in 2021 and has lifted many of the restrictions that had been imposed previously, preventing him from being in the lineup the day before, the day after and the day of his starts.

On Sunday, he became the first starting pitcher to hit second in a game since Jack Dunleavy in 1903.

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