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ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 20: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels watches as the ball clears the wall on a two-run home run in the fifth inning of the game against the Detroit Tigers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 20, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo : Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Shohei Ohtani and Kyle Schwarber’s huge performances this past week have been rewarded as they were named MLB’s Players of the Week on Monday.
This is Ohtani’s third career Player of the Week award but his first since the Japanese star’s rookie season in 2018. Schwarber, on the other hand, grabbed his first career Player of the Week award.
Two-way Ohtani bolsters MVP bid
Ohtani cemented his status as one of the MVP frontrunners with another dazzling display for the Los Angeles Angels this past week. He led the American League in home runs during the week with six long balls. Ohtani’s power is there for all to see, recording six home runs in his last six games and homering in each of his previous three games.
Ohtani is now tied with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the Major League lead in that department with 23 home runs on the season. He now has eclipsed his personal career-high for a season set in his 2018 Rookie of the Year campaign.
Ohtani became just the second Japanese-born player to record multiple 20-homer seasons, joining New York Yankee great Hideki Matsui, who accomplished the said feat five times.
Ohtani also impressed on the base paths as he stole his 10th base of the season in the 8-4 loss to the Oakland Athletics. Ohtani made history in that as well as he joined Mike Trout (2014, ’18), Troy Glaus (2000) and Don Baylor (1978, ’79) as the only players in Angels franchise history with at least 20 home runs and ten stolen bases before the All-Star break.
What sets Ohtani apart from his peers is that he’s also excelling on the mound. He picked up his third victory as a pitcher against the Detroit Tigers on Thursday, throwing six innings of one-run ball with five strikeouts in the 7-5 win.
Ohtani, who also batted second in the lineup during that game, threw 78 pitches in his 10th start of the season, allowing just five hits and a walk. With the win, Ohtani improved his record to 3-1 for the season, lowering his ERA to 2.70 in the process and recording a 1.16 WHIP. He has struck out 73 batters in 53 1/3 innings this season.
Home run spree nets Schwarber NL award
Kyle Schwarber, on the other hand, wreaked havoc on the offensive end for the Washington Nationals this past week. He blasted six home runs, leading the National League in that department and equaling Ohtani for the Major League lead for the week. He also led the NL in slugging percentage with a 1.077 clip and tied for the league lead and 11 RBIs.
Five of Schwarber’s six homers came during a fantastic 13-inning stretch against the rival New York Mets. He homered twice to lead the Nationals past New York in the second game of their doubleheader Saturday before putting up a three-homer performance on Sunday to help seal the series win for Washington. Schwarber’s five home runs in two days tied an MLB record.
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