Shohei Ohtani reached a career milestone Wednesday night, and in true Ohtani fashion it put him in a very exclusive club. The Los Angeles Angels two-way superstar struck out a career-high-tying 13 batters against the St. Louis Cardinals (LAA 6, STL 4), and strikeout No. 13 was the 500th strikeout of his career. Nolan Arenado was the victim for No. 500.
With that strikeout, Ohtani joined Babe Ruth as the only players in baseball history with 500 strikeouts as a pitcher and 100 home runs as a hitter. Here is Ohtani’s 500th career strikeout. He has 134 career home runs as a hitter.
Ohtani struck out those 13 batters in only five innings of work Wednesday. And, despite those strikeouts, he didn’t pitch all that well. Ohtani allowed four runs on five hits and a walk in those five innings, including two home runs. His only non-strikeout outs were Paul Goldschmidt getting thrown out on the bases and a Tommy Edman ground out.
Wednesday’s 13-strikeout game was Ohtani’s 13th game with double-digit strikeouts since the start of last season, two more than any other pitcher. He’s also hit 41 home runs during that time. I know we’re oversaturated with Ohtani these days, but gosh, this is a once-in-a-lifetime player. There has never been anyone like him.
Even with Wednesday’s tough start, Ohtani owns a 2.54 ERA with 59 strikeouts in 39 innings this season. He also went 3 for 5 with a double and an RBI in the game and is hitting .307/.365/.553 with seven home runs on the year.