Even Elly had to make sure Ohtani was real

August 24th, 2023

On a night when the baseball world was shaken up by the news of an injury that will prevent from pitching the rest of the season, the superstar still helped provide us a moment of levity, courtesy of Reds phenom .

Both men lived up to their billing in the Reds' 9-4 victory in Game 1 on Wednesday, with Ohtani launching his Major League-leading 44th home run of the season and De La Cruz driving in six runs with a three-run homer and a bases-loaded triple.

In Game 2, the two had the opportunity to meet at second base after an Ohtani double in the fifth inning. De La Cruz walked over and touched Ohtani on the arm as if to say, as Angels television color commentator Mark Gubicza surmised, “Are you real?”

As it turns out, Gubicza was correct.

“I talked to [Matt] McLain before we went out there," De La Cruz said through an interpreter. "I told him, ‘Hey, I’m going to touch him to see if he’s real.’”

It’s a good question. But the same could be asked about De La Cruz, the 21-year-old sensation who already has 11 homers and 21 steals in his first 66 career games.

That’s what it’s all about: the best of the best facing each other on the diamond while demonstrating their mutual admiration for one another. Ohtani and De La Cruz gave us a textbook example of “game recognizing game.”

Unfortunately, fans will not be seeing Ohtani on the mound for at least the rest of 2023 after he was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow on Wednesday.