Los Angeles Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani strikes out 9 batters in less than five innings on Opening Day(Also leadoff batter)

Angels’ Shohei Ohtani strikes out nine in first start of 2022 season
from Adam Stites, with YardBarker.com/www.yardbarker.com

Los Angeles Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani pitched less than five innings against the Houston Astros on Opening Day, but still managed to fan nine batters before his exit.

Ohtani, 27, earned AL MVP honors last season after finishing the year with a 9-2 record and 3.18 ERA on the mound, in addition to 46 home runs and 100 RBI as a batter. In the offseason, MLB passed a new rule to allow Ohtani to stay in a game as a designated hitter even if he’s removed as a pitcher.

On Thursday, Ohtani became the first player in MLB history to start a team’s opening game and be the team’s leadoff hitter.

Angels players have won AL MVP honors in four of the last eight years with Ohtani winning in 2021 and Mike Trout earning the award in 2014, 2016 and 2019. Despite the individual accolades and the team’s top-10 payroll, the Angels haven’t won a playoff game since 2009.

Ohtani pitched 4.2 innings against the Astros, allowing four hits and one earned run. He struck out nine and walked one. The Angels trailed 1-0 when he was replaced by left-hander Aaron Loup.