Shohei Ohtani made his debut as a starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Angeles of Anaheim on Sunday afternoon against the Oakland A's and delivered six strong innings to finish in position for a win.
Ohtani wowed fans in attendance with a first inning that lasted less than 10 minutes. He threw 13 pitches including nine strikes for two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 inning. His fastball was clocked from 96 to 100 miles per hour. Ohtani got support from his offense with two runs in the top of the second inning.
A's third baseman Matt Chapman hit a three-run home run off Ohtani in the second inning on an 83 mile per hour slider to take a 3–2 lead.
The Angels struck back in top of the fifth inning with Mike Trout singling home the tying run and then taking a 4–3 lead with a Justin Upton sacrifice fly.
Ohtani finished the day with six strong innings of work and retired 14 of the last 15 batters that he faced. He allowed three runs on three hits with one walk and six strikeouts.
Ohtani played in Thursday's game as a designated hitter and finished the day 1-for-5 with a hit and a strikeout.
By taking the mound on Sunday, Ohtani became the first player in nearly 100 years to start as a pitcher and a non-pitcher within the first 10 games of the season. The last occurrence in MLB history happened with Joe Bush of the Boston Red Sox and Clarence Mitchell of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1920. The last player to start a game as a pitcher and position player or DH in the same season was Rick Rhoden of the New York Yankees in 1988.
Many questioned how effective Ohtani would be after struggling during Spring Training. He allowing 15 earned runs in about 13 total innings of work while also striking out 24 batters and walked eight. His velocity ranged anywhere from 91 to 98 miles per hour on his fastball, according to several scouts.
The Angeles led 7–3 before turning the ball over to the bullpen.