Dodgers News: Shohei Ohtani Keeping Same ‘Approach’ When Hitting With Runners In Scoring Position

Shohei Ohtani has picked up where he left off at the plate following his historic contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, keeping pace with the best hitters around the league in multiple top categories.

Through 24 games, Ohtani is batting a league-leading .368, with a .663 slugging percentage. His 197 wRC+ ranks behind teammate Mookie Betts, among qualified National League hitters.

The only wart to his game has come with runners in scoring position, where he’s batting .136, 11th worst in MLB. This goes against his career marks, which paint a better picture of future success, and Ohtani explained that he isn’t changing any aspect of his focus in those spots.

“Nothing specifically,” Ohtani said through translator Will Ireton. “It’s just more regardless of the situation, sticking to my approach no matter what. That’s more of the change that I did. Which is no change.”

Of his 22 at-bats with runners in scoring position, Ohtani has swung at the first pitch in six appearances, while the other 16 have come in 1–0, or 0–1 counts.

Ohtani’s aggressiveness in those opportunities is showing, but he noted that he’s staying within himself regardless of what the outcomes have been.

“The zone that I’m swinging at is a little bit larger with runners in scoring position,” Ohtani said. “With nobody on base, I’m pretty good at it. It’s just winding down the zone. I talked about it with Doc.”

As a team, the Dodgers have a combined .716 on-base plus slugging with runners in scoring position, which ranks 17th in the league. Their recent home stand was on-par with their season numbers, they just have to do a better job at executing.

“I’m sure we all feel the pressure to be able to score and put up good at-bats,” Ohtani said. “Especially when we’re behind and have runners in scoring position. But it’s really looking at each of us individually. I think sometimes it’s a matter of having more at-bats in situations like that.”

Shohei Ohtani’s home run breaks MLB record

Ohtani’s third inning home run against Adrian Houser was a milestone shot, boosting the Dodgers to an early lead over the Mets.

It was also his 176th career home run, surpassing Hideki Matsui for the most ever by a Japanese-born player in Major League history. Ohtani had tied Matsui earlier this year, when he clubbed career homer 175 against Michael King of the San Diego Padres.

Ohtani acknowledged the gravity of the record chase, noting that he’s continuously looking forward to his next tape-measure shot.

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