If Shohei Ohtani can hit a ball 463 feet at sea level in Seattle, imagine what he might do Monday night in the Home Run Derby in the Mile High City of Denver.
The Los Angeles Angels’ two-way All-Star continued to amaze Friday night, hitting a solo shot into the upper deck in the third inning at T-Mobile Park in a 7-3 loss to the Mariners. The teams will continue their three-game series on Saturday night.
Ohtani’s shot was the longest homer ever hit to right field in the ballpark’s 22-year history and just the sixth to reach the top deck, joining blasts by Mo Vaughn (1999), Carlos Delgado (2001), Nomar Mazara (2019), Daniel Vogelbach (2019) and Joey Gallo (2020).
It also is the third-longest homer hit at the stadium, trailing only Chris Carter (465 feet in 2016) and Jose Abreu (464 in 2017).
Both Angels manager Joe Maddon and starting pitcher Alex Cobb questioned Statcast’s distance on the home run.
“That ball was far. It said 463. That can’t be 463,” Maddon said.
Added Cobb: “I think that Statcast was wrong. I think that ball was well over 500 feet. … It’s just incredible.”
And yet, Ohtani’s blast was nearly overshadowed by Mitch Haniger’s tie-breaking grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning.
“We had a nice thing going on, then we gave them the momentum back,” Maddon said.
Even the Mariners were impressed by Ohtani’s moon shot.
“He’s got that kind of power, that kind of talent,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “But at the end of the day it’s only worth one, and (Haniger’s) was worth four. I liked (Haniger’s) a little bit better even if it didn’t go quite as far.”
Want more Ohtani tidbits?
— The homer had an exit velocity of 116.5 mph, the hardest-ball hit at T-Mobile Park in the Statcast era.
— His 33 homers are tied with Sammy Sosa in 1998 for the most by a foreign-born player before the All-Star break. Only Barry Bonds in 2001 hit more (39).
— Ohtani has 16 homers over his past 21 games, which according to Stats By Stats is the first time an American League player has accomplished the feat in a single season.
The Angels are scheduled to start left-hander Patrick Sandoval (2-2, 3.86 ERA) on Saturday. He is 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA in two career starts against Seattle, with the loss coming June 6 at T-Mobile Park. Sandoval allowed three runs — two earned — on five hits over six innings, with one walk and 10 strikeouts.
The Mariners plan to counter with right-hander Chris Flexen (7-3, 3.80), who has faced the Angels just once, on April 30 in Seattle. Flexen didn’t get a decision in a 7-4 victory, going four innings and giving up three runs on four hits, with one walk and no strikeouts.
Flexen is 5-2 with a 1.99 ERA in nine starts at home.
–Field Level Media