Shohei Ohtani's magnificence reached historic lows on Tuesday when he threw his 502nd strikeout.
When Ohtani struck out Houston Astros shortstop Jeremy Peña in the top of the second inning, the two-way star of the Los Angeles Angels broke a record that had stood for 88 years, surpassing the legendary Babe Ruth. Most strikeouts by a player with at least 100 career home runs,
The key difference between Ruth and Ohtani, however, is the 100-plus home run mark. Ohtani is playing at MVP level in 2023 with a .294/.362/.515 slash line, but he has a long way to go career-wise to catch up with the “Great Bambino” as a batter. He has 134 career home runs, while Ruth has 714 career home runs. Ohtani only played six seasons in MLB, while Ruth played for 22 years, from 1914 to 1935.
“It's a good thing I could pass [Ruth]But I felt like I could have hit more hitters today,” Ohtani said after the game through an interpreter. Per Los Angeles Times. “It's still a long season. It's still early. I just want to stay healthy and get through the season healthy.
Ohtani, 28, struck out seven batters in a 3-1 loss to the Astros, raising his career total to 507, but gave up three earned runs and six hits. As a batter, he went 0-for-3 against Houston.
Ohtani's future in Los Angeles remains one of the biggest questions ahead of the 2023 season. He is headed to free agency this offseason, but could be a prime trade target at the deadline if the Angels aren't confident in his postseason potential.
Los Angeles currently sits in second place in the AL West with a 20–17 record, two games behind the Texas Rangers and 3.5 games ahead of the Astros and Seattle Mariners. The Angels have not made a season since 2014.