Shohei Ohtani Reveals Why He's Been So Strong For Dodgers Of Late

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
In this story:

Shohei Ohtani went through a four-game stretch in early June that saw him struggle more than he had in a while. From June 2-6, he struck out nine times in 20 at-bats and was continuously chasing pitches outside the strike zone.

Since then, he has struck out six times in 64 plate appearances.

The Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter has made some adjustments at the plate that has sent 18 balls into play with 11 for extra bases and seven for home runs. When hitting the ball to straightaway center field, he is 11-for-24 (.458) with a 1.250 slugging percentage this month.

“I think it’s more about my posture and being able to see and have really good awareness of the strike zone,” Ohtani said on why things have been going well for him.

Ohtani has eight home runs in June and all of them have had a distance of at least 400 feet. The eight homers combined have traveled nearly three-quarters of a mile (3,481 feet) and have averaged 435 feet.

Even more impressive is his transition from the No. 2 batter to lead-off. In those five games, he is batting .500/.600/1.100/1.700 with five walks and two strikeouts.

“(It isn’t a) really meaningful change,” Ohtani said on going from No. 2 to the top of the lineup. “I think first at-bat is a little different.”

Despite taking the loss on Friday night, Ohtani still managed to reach base four times against his old team and according to manager Dave Roberts, this might be "the hottest" the Dodgers have seen him since he signed a 10-year, $700 million free-agent contract this offseason.

Maren Angus-Coombs


Maren Angus-Coombs was born in Los Angeles and raised in Nashville, Tenn. She is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State and has been a sports writer since 2008. Despite growing up in the South, her sports obsession has always been in Los Angeles. She is currently a staff writer at the LA Sports Report Network.