Ohtani's longest career HR a sight to behold

June 9th, 2021

ANAHEIM -- Two-way phenom ’s immense power was on full display in the Halos' 8-1 win over the Royals on Tuesday at Angel Stadium, as he absolutely hammered a two-run shot off lefty Kris Bubic in the first inning that went a projected 470 feet to right-center field, per Statcast.

Ohtani jumped all over a 2-2 changeup from Bubic for the longest homer of his career, surpassing his previous record of 451 feet set on April 4 off White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease. It was also the fifth-longest homer by an Angels player since Statcast was introduced in 2015 behind four Mike Trout blasts. Trout has hit homers a projected 486 feet (Sept. 5, 2019), 477 feet (July 8, 2015), 473 feet (May 18, 2019) and 471 feet (July 12, 2019).

Manager Joe Maddon said it was the farthest he's seen a ball hit at Angel Stadium, and it's worth noting that he was with the club as a bench coach in 2002, when Barry Bonds hit his memorable homer off Troy Percival in Game 2 of the World Series that was estimated at 485 feet.

"That's the farthest ball I think I've seen hit here," Maddon said. "I've never seen one hit there before."

Angels left-hander Andrew Heaney, who allowed one run over 6 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts to pick up the win, was also amazed by the homer. But he pointed out, with a laugh, that his good friend -- and former Angels right-hander -- Garrett Richards once gave up a 490-foot homer to Joey Gallo at Angel Stadium in 2017.

"The Gallo one looked farther, but I can't think of any in recent memory -- that one was absolutely hammered," Heaney said. "I mean, what more can you say? The guy is just so impressive. It's amazing."

It was also the 17th homer of the season for Ohtani and it had an exit velocity of 111.7 mph. He moved into a tie for second in the Majors in homers with Fernando Tatis Jr.'s behind Ronald Acuña Jr. and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who both have 18. Of his 16 blasts, four have gone at least 440 feet, which is tied for second in the Majors behind Tatis Jr.'s five.

Ohtani, though, took the homer in stride, simply saying he was happy it led to early runs.

“I’m glad I was able to start things on a good note with a home run,” Ohtani told Japanese media members.

It was another incredible feat for Ohtani, who is set to make his ninth start on the mound on Friday against the D-backs in Arizona. He owns a 2.76 ERA with 60 strikeouts, 26 walks and four homers allowed in 42 1/3 innings as a pitcher. With National League rules in place, he’ll hit for himself on Friday, though he will be relegated to pinch-hitting duties on Saturday and Sunday, as the Angels aren’t comfortable with him playing a full game in the outfield just yet.

Ohtani also doubled and walked, going 2-for-3; he is batting .261/.346/.606 with 44 RBIs and 40 runs in 56 games. His double in the third was hit even harder than his homer, as it left the bat at 112.6 mph. He became the second Angels player to have at least two extra-base hits with an exit velocity of 111 mph in a game, joining Chris Iannetta, who did it on May 18, 2015. Maddon said he believes Ohtani’s first homer helped the Angels get to Bubic, who gave up four big flies.

"It has an impact on that pitcher, I promise you," Maddon said. "Because that kid's pretty good and we roughed him up a little bit early. It can take confidence away from the pitcher. We want to score first, we want to throw the first punch, always. And we did."

As Maddon noted, Ohtani's homer sparked the offense with Max Stassi, Justin Upton, José Iglesias and Taylor Ward each going deep. Stassi smacked his third homer over his last four games with a two-run shot in the third, while Iglesias and Upton both went yard in the fourth. It was Iglesias’ fifth of the year and Upton’s 14th, including his fifth in 13 games as the leadoff hitter. Ward capped the power display with a two-run moonshot off Josh Staumont in the eighth.

But Maddon was quick to give credit to Heaney, who pitched brilliantly with the early lead, throwing his fastball 82 times out of his 109 pitches and getting an impressive 18 swings and misses on the pitch.

"It was starting pitching and catching the ball. I know we want to talk about the homers, but Andrew was outstanding," Maddon said. "His fastball was as alive as you're going to see it. There was just so many nice things that occurred tonight. It's that formulaic game you're always looking for."