I was immersed in 18 innings of cruddy White Sox baseball (and NBA Playoffs action) when I saw a tweet joking about the possibility of Shohei Ohtani throwing a perfect game with 20 strikeouts. So, I quickly flipped over the Angels-Astros game on MLB.TV to see that Ohtani really was already through five perfect ones against the Astros at Minute Maid Park. He didn’t ultimately get the job done, but holy CRAP was he impressive.
Ohtani’s slider was on another level last night, garnering 23 Called Strikes+Whiffs for a staggering 66% CSW% on that pitch. Take a look at the filth and how it looks paired with Shohei’s fastball:
Shohei Ohtani's Back Door Slider. 😲
Fastball & Back Door Slider, Individual Pitches + Overlay.
You can see why you'd give up on it! pic.twitter.com/IKixHZTpO2
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 21, 2022
Ohtani’s splitter was almost equally nasty last night. He threw the splitter 18 times and got eight swings against it, with six being counted as whiffs (75%). Here’s what Ohtani’s pitches stacked up last night in terms of whiff rate:
• 4SFB: 13%
• SL: 73%
• SPL: 75%
• CRV: 33%
Ohtani would eventually lose the perfect game bid when Jason Castro singled on a line drive to center field. But he eventually worked around that (and a Jeremy Pena walk) to finish his night with six innings of one-hit baseball and 12 strikeouts. Oh, and of course, Ohtani went 2-4 with a pair of RBI and the fourth hardest-hit ball (102.9 MPH) of the evening at the dish to help his cause.
Shohei Ohtani, 98mph Fastball and 91mph Splitter, Individual Pitches + Overlay pic.twitter.com/V6HOK04byp
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 20, 2022
Folks, Shohei is a treat to witness. Here’s the highlight reel from his dominant outing on Wednesday night: