The 2022 MLB All-Star Game was a close, contested matchup between two great rosters: the American League and the National League.
The junior circuit ended up prevailing, 3-2.
Thanks to leadoff hitter Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels, the American League got off to a fast start, as he got on base in his first at-bat against Los Angeles Dodgers legend Clayton Kershaw.
Unfortunately for Ohtani, he was picked off at first base by Kershaw, and the inning went from having no outs and a man at first to nobody on and an out.
Still, it was a well-struck, line-drive single by Ohtani, who showed the world he is more than just a home-run hitter.
The hit came on the first pitch of the game.
That Was The Plan All Along
Ohtani later explained that swinging so early in the count was the plan all along.
“Shohei Ohtani said in his media availability that he was 100 percent swinging at the first pitch no matter what,” Sam Blum of The Athletic tweeted.
Shohei Ohtani said in his media availability that he was 100 percent swinging at the first pitch no matter what.
— Sam Blum (@SamBlum3) July 20, 2022
It doesn’t matter if Kershaw threw a pitch well outside of the zone: the Angels’ two-way star was swinging anyway.
It was Ohtani’s plan from the beginning, probably stemming from the fact Kershaw repeatedly pounds the strike zone and doesn’t back down against anybody.
The future Hall of Fame pitcher has a 2.13 ERA on the season and a 2.48 mark over the course of his long, successful career.
What shaped up to be a fascinating matchup lasted just one pitch: Ohtani knew what he was going to do.
Kershaw took his revenge a few moments later with his successful pickoff attempt, and the two stars shared a smile afterwards.