Shohei Ohtani (LA Angels), who is considered the best star to shine in the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC), showed off his strength by hitting a three-run home run in consecutive hits from the first game after joining the Japanese baseball team. Lee Kang-cheol, who will play the WBC Korea-Japan match on the 10th, seems to need to be wary of batter Ohtani.메이저놀이터
Ohtani started as the designated hitter in the 2023 WBC official evaluation match against the Hansan Tigers held at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka, Japan on the 6th, and recorded 2 hits in 3 at-bats (2 homers), 6 RBIs, 2 runs and 1 strikeout.
Japan defeated Hanshin 8-1 with Ohtani’s two home runs.
This match is an official evaluation match designated by the WBC organizing committee, and active big leaguers who have not been able to play in unofficial practice matches have been able to participate.
As a result, Japan made all three batters from the Major League (MLB) selected for the WBC final list as starters. Ohtani was placed in the 3rd batting order, Lars Nutba (St. Louis Cardinals) batted 1st, center fielder, and Masataka Yoshida (Boston Red Sox) batted 5th, left fielder.
Of these, the player who drew the most attention was, of course, Ohtani. Ohtani, who is active as the best pitcher and best hitter in the major leagues, played for the national team for the first time since moving to Japan on the 3rd.
Ohtani, who is scheduled to double as a pitcher in the WBC, played only as a batter that day and proved his worth with just three at-bats.
At the beginning of the first inning, Ohtani, who was in his first at-bat with no runners out, was struck out on a swing by Hanshin starting pitcher Hiroto Saiki’s 154km high fastball on the fourth pitch.
However, it wasn’t long before Ohtani’s home run show unfolded.
Ohtani faced Saiki again with 2 outs 1st and 2nd base at the beginning of the 3rd inning, leading 1-0. Driven by 1 ball and 2 strikes, Ohtani hit Saiki’s forkball while kneeling on his left knee, and the ball went over the middle fence. It was a home run that showed Ohtani’s great power.
Ohtani even drew an arch that puts a wedge in the game. In the beginning of the 5th inning, leading 4-1, he had a full count match with Hanshin 2nd pitcher Ren Tomida at 2nd, 1st and 2nd bases, and hit a high 142km high fastball on the 7th pitch to hit a home run.
The moment the hit hit, the crowd cheered loudly as they intuitively sensed Ohtani’s home run.
Ohtani’s three-game home run challenge did not come true. Japanese coach Hideki Kuriyama removed Ohtani, who should have been the lead hitter, and put in pinch hitter Yamakawa Hotaka (Seibu Lions) in the top of the 7th inning.
He managed the condition of major leaguers in preparation for the WBC, which is three days away. On this day, Ohtani, Nutba, and Yoshida were all replaced after getting a chance to hit three times.
Batter Ohtani in this game was one of the best. He changed the tide at once with two home runs and gave the team victory. Even at the stage where they were not yet fully prepared, they demonstrated their skills on a different level.
Batter Ohtani’s tremendous explosive power is bound to be of interest to Lee Kang-cheol. Korea is focusing on the first game against Australia (9th), which will be a watershed for advancing to the quarterfinals, but is also preparing for a match against Japan, which will take place a day later.
It is fortunate that there is a high possibility that Ohtani, who tied the Korean batting line twice in the Premier 12 eight years ago, will not pitch in the Korea-Japan match, but Ohtani, the batter, is also a formidable opponent.
Ohtani is scheduled to have a final checkup in the final official evaluation match against the Orix Buffaloes on the 7th at the same place.
Meanwhile, Nutba and Yoshida contributed to the victory with 2 hits in 3 at-bats, 1 RBI and 1 run, respectively, and 1 hit and 1 RBI in 3 at-bats in this game.
Japanese starting pitcher Yamamoto Yoshinobu (Orix) recorded 4 hits (1 home run), 4 strikeouts and 1 run in 3 innings. Keiji Takahashi (Yakult Swallows), who took the mound as the second pitcher, pitched well and became the winning pitcher with 2 hits and 4 strikeouts in 3 innings.