Justin Verlander was dealing on Wednesday night. He tossed 4 2/3 hitless innings against the Dodgers in Game 2 of the World Series, the only blemish on his pitching line an eight-pitch walk to Chris Taylor in the fourth. The rest of the Dodgers’ lineup was denied a chance to get on base, let alone get on the board, while the Astros took a 1-0 lead in the third on Alex Bregman‘s RBI single.
With two outs and a 2-1 count in the fifth, Joc Pederson finally found a pitch to his liking. He roped Verlander’s hanging slider out to center field, curving it just over the wall for a solo home run: his first of the postseason.
The 370-foot blast effectively ended Verlander’s bid for a no-hitter; had he persevered through the remaining 4 1/3 innings, he would’ve been the first pitcher to no-hit a World Series opponent since Don Larsen’s Game 5 perfecto against the 1956 Brooklyn Dodgers.
The Dodgers are currently tied 1-1 with the Astros in the bottom of the sixth.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shohei Ohtani agreed to a $30 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels for the 2023 season in the two-way superstar’s final year of arbitration eligibility before free agency.
The Angels announced the deal, avoiding a potentially complicated arbitration case with the 2021 AL MVP.
Ohtani’s deal is fully guaranteed, with no other provisions. The contract is the largest ever given to an arbitration-eligible player, surpassing the $27 million given to Mookie Betts by the Boston Red Sox in January 2020, a month before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Ohtani is having another incredible season at the plate and on the mound for the Angels, regularly accomplishing feats that haven’t occurred in the major leagues since Babe Ruth’s heyday. He is a strong contender for the AL MVP award again alongside the Yankees’ Aaron Judge, who has tied the AL home run record and is closing in on the batting Triple Crown.
Ohtani is batting .276 with 34 homers, 94 RBIs and a .888 OPS as the Halos’ designated hitter. He is 15-8 with a 2.35 ERA and 213 strikeouts as their ace on the mound, and opponents are batting only .207 against him.
The 28-year-old Ohtani still will be a free agent after the 2023 season, and his future could be tied to the immediate fortunes of the Angels, who will complete their seventh consecutive losing season next week. The Angels didn’t trade Ohtani at the deadline despite being out of the playoff race again, and Ohtani is wildly popular among the club’s fans.
Ohtani repeatedly has said winning will be an important factor in choosing his home beyond 2023, and Angels owner Arte Moreno is currently exploring a sale of the team.
Moreno’s leadership has been widely criticized during the Angels’ mostly miserable run of play since 2009, and a fresh start with deep-pocketed new owners could be the best chance to persuade Ohtani to stay with the franchise he joined in 2018 from Japan. Ohtani immediately won the AL Rookie of the Year award, and he rounded into unique form last season after recovering fully from Tommy John surgery.