Sho's 464-ft HR -- 'That's deep' -- caps 4-hit day, Dodgers sweep

Second HR of day paces Dodgers, who showed mettle against powerful Braves

May 5th, 2024

LOS ANGELES -- When the Dodgers signed this winter, they could just dream of the monstrous homers and the big moments he would produce at Dodger Stadium over the course of the next decade. That’s why they believed he was worth the historic $700 million deal.

On Sunday, Ohtani racked up his first multihomer game and four-hit game since joining the organization in December, and he did it in style. Ohtani’s second homer in the Dodgers’ 5-1 win over the Braves to wrap up a three-game sweep at Dodger Stadium was a no-doubter that traveled a Statcast-projected 464 feet and had an exit velocity of 110.6 mph.

The 464-foot blast was the longest for Ohtani this season and the second longest in the Majors in 2024 behind only his former teammate Mike Trout, who had a 473-foot blast with the Angels. It was also the third-longest homer of Ohtani’s career, and third longest at Dodger Stadium since Statcast tracking began in 2015.

“He just keeps doing things that we haven’t seen before,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “That’s deep. People don’t hit the ball out there [in left-center field]. Whether you’re right-handed or left-handed, day game, night game. He really got into that one.”

While Ohtani’s second homer was the longest and loudest of the afternoon, his first blast was the one that jumpstarted the Dodgers’ offense against left-hander Max Fried, who came into Sunday’s start on a 15-inning scoreless streak.

Ohtani battled back into the count until finally taking advantage of a hanging curveball from the Atlanta ace. The two-time unanimous American League Most Valuable Player launched it into center field to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead that they'd never relinquish.

With the 4-for-4 performance on Sunday, Ohtani is now 11-for-21 with three homers during his current five-game hitting streak. He also became the first Dodgers player since at least 1901 to record 25 extra-base hits in his first 35 games with the organization.

“I just feel like we’re overall playing really well,” Ohtani said through interpreter Will Ireton. “So that’s really helping me have quality at-bats and just feeling good overall.”

Now with Ohtani in the fold, there aren’t many regular-season series that will hold significant meaning for the Dodgers. The reality is, this Dodgers season will ultimately be declared a success or failure based on what happens in October. The club has made it clear that it’s championship or bust.

But in the build-up to the drama that will undoubtedly unfold in October, there are some series that can serve as a litmus test during the regular season. The Dodgers passed that with flying colors these past three games, outscoring the Braves 20-6 in what was a dominant sweep in all areas.

“Playing against a really good team, with us being able to pitch well against a really good offensive team,” Ohtani said, "was really important for us.”

Ohtani is right. While the long homers usually steal the show, it was the Dodgers’ pitching staff that led the way over the weekend. On Sunday, it was 's turn to deliver his best start as a Dodger, allowing just one run and striking out three over 6 2/3 innings.

Paxton has had a shaky start to the season, largely because of his command. He accumulated three or more walks in four of his first five starts. Against the Braves, it was obvious from the first pitch that Paxton had a much better feel of his pitches, helping his overall command.

“It felt great,” Paxton said. “I finally found some rhythm out there. We’ve been working hard here in between games trying to figure it out, and it just feels good to make some progress.”

If the Dodgers can get Paxton back on track, they could possess one of the best rotations in the National League. Tyler Glasnow and Yoshinobu Yamamoto are starting to give the club everything it wanted when they were acquired this winter. Gavin Stone has been impressive his last few starts, including Friday against Atlanta. Then there’s Walker Buehler, who will return from Tommy John surgery recovery on Monday against the Marlins to make his first start since 2022.

In every way, the Dodgers are playing like the team most expected this winter. Having Ohtani, arguably the game’s most feared slugger, could also prove to be the difference this season.

The Braves found out the hard way this weekend.