Otani No. 19-20 Home Run Poe Nihon Keidokai “If I go to Saudi, I’ll be like Messi…”

Shohei Ohtani’s (29-LA Angels) multi-powered performance has Japanese fans buzzing. One Japanese media outlet compared him to Lionel Messi’s (36-Inter Miami) offer from a club in Saudi Arabia.

Ohtani started in the No. 2 spot in the lineup for the 2023 Major League Baseball (MLB) World Series against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, on Wednesday (July 13) and went 2-for-4 with a home run, four RBIs and a walk to lead the Angels to a 9-6 victory. Ohtani’s two hits were a game-tying home run and a game-winning home run.

Ohtani’s 19th home run of the season came with the bases loaded in the top of the seventh inning with the team trailing 4-5. In his third at-bat, Ohtani took a low sinker off right-hander Grant Anderson and drove it over the top of the center field bleachers. It traveled a whopping 140 meters. After the hit, Ohtani took a moment to admire the pitch and even performed a rare “bat flip” in celebration.

Ohtani’s home run sent the game into extra innings in the top of the 12th. Once again, Ohtani was the hero. With the bases loaded and two outs, 안전놀이터 Ohtani stepped up to the plate and smashed a high fastball from left-hander Cole Lagans over the left field fence. It was Ohtani’s 20th home run of the season. With the home run, Ohtani moved within one home run of Aaron Judge (New York Yankees – 19) for the team lead.

Ohtani’s multi-hit performance sent the Japanese archipelago into a frenzy. “Ohtani is performing beyond human imagination,” Japanese media outlet Junichi Sports wrote after the game. One fan took to social media to express his excitement. ‘If Ohtani were to head to Saudi Arabia, he would be able to touch big money, just like Lionel Messi was offered,’ the fan said,” the outlet reported.

The outlet continued, “There were also posts on social media saying, ‘Ohtani could get $7 trillion ($89.25 billion) if he goes to Saudi Arabia. Messi recently left Paris Saint-Germain at the end of a two-year contract to join Inter Miami in the United States. According to the BBC, Messi has received a two-year, €1 billion ($1.378 billion) offer from Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal.”

Ohtani will be eligible for free agency after this season. “If Ohtani does hit the free agent market, local reports suggest that contract negotiations will begin with a 10-year, $500 million (¥637.5 billion) deal,” Junichi Sports said.

With his 20th home run, Ohtani reached the 20-homer, 100-strikeout milestone for the third straight year. As a hitter this season, Ohtani is batting .291 with 20 home runs, 50 RBIs, and an OPS of .955 (through 13 days). As a pitcher, he has a 5-2 record with a 3.32 ERA and 102 strikeouts.

According to ESPN, “Ohtani added two more home runs on the day, giving him the third 20-homer, 100-strikeout mark in his career. No player in Major League Baseball history has ever accomplished that feat, except for Ohtani.” Ohtani also posted 20-homer, 100-strikeout seasons in 2021 and 2022.

Ohtani is also third in the majors in strikeouts this season. Spencer Strider (Atlanta Braves) leads the league in strikeouts with 121 and Kevin Gausman (Toronto Blue Jays) is second with 117. “Ohtani has hit more home runs and drawn more walks than any other player in the American League,” according to U.S. data analytics firm Codify Baseball.

Ohtani’s pace of late has been nothing short of spectacular. In his last 13 games, he’s batting .396 (21-for-53) with eight home runs and 17 RBIs. If he keeps up his current pace, the math works out to a 47-homer, 119-RBI pace. Ohtani had 46 homers and 100 RBIs in his MVP-winning 2021 season. What will Ohtani’s final numbers be this season? There is already a lot of interest.

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