Yankees chasing Shohei Ohtani in first inning defied all expectations


If there’s one thing we know about the 2021 New York Yankees, it’s that there’s a long day’s journey into night still left in this horrid, stupid game.

Any number of things can happen before the ninth inning wraps in the Bronx on the muggiest night of the year.

However, at the end of one inning of play, we can make a declarative statement that we believe to be 90-95% true: Angels ace Shohei Ohtani’s ERA is now up to 3.60, which is going to turn some people off from considering him the slam-dunk MVP winner.

Yes, even though he’s also a 28-homer-mashing outfielder. Voters behave like they’re stuck in the mud.

Heading into the third game of a four-game set (and by far the most anticipated), the Angels’ ace and best hitter was both leading off and on the mound.

By the top of the second, he was replaced in the lineup by Scott Schebler (temporarily) and replaced on the mound by Aaron Slegers, who let the final three runs of a disastrous frame score. The curtain fell quickly on Sho-time this time around.

Yankees chased Shohei Ohtani off the mound in under an inning.

Was the strike zone tight? Of course it was, something Domingo German dealt with on the other side, too.

It also wasn’t unreasonable, and Ohtani missed wide a few times on DJ LeMahieu and Luke Voit before Gary Sánchez worked an extra-credit walk to load the bases without an out. Then, something amazing happened: Giancarlo Stanton got an actual hit. So did Gleyber Torres. Miguel Andújar contributed a productive out.

With two outs and two runners on, Clint Frazier was…maybe hit in the hand with a pitch? Might’ve hit a bat knob? When that break occurred, Ohtani’s wheels officially peeled off. He walked Brett Gardner on four pitches, gave way to Slegers, and watched from the dugout in mist and disbelief as DJ LeMahieu poked one down the first-base line for an additional three runs on his ledger.

This Yankees offense is maddeningly inconsistent, and couldn’t scratch a run across with the bases loaded and one out in the very next inning against Alex Claudio, extinguishing the rally on an Andújar double play.

The fickle nature of Yankees baseball is all the more reason to appreciate this bit of first-inning magic, though. Wild night already.