Ohtani hits hardest oppo taco by a lefty hitter

Two-way superstar's 21st home run extends American League lead

June 15th, 2023

How many ways can wow us? We could attempt to count them, but that would probably be an exercise in futility because we'd always come up short.

Yet another example came Wednesday night in Arlington, when the two-way superstar smashed a 453-foot home run to left-center field during the top of the ninth inning of the Angels' 6-3 loss to the Rangers. It was his American League-leading 21st of the season.

The exit velocity of the mammoth two-run shot was 116.1 mph, making it the hardest-hit home run to the opposite field by a left-handed hitter that Statcast has tracked since coming online in 2015.

“He’s really good … really good,” Halos manager Phil Nevin said through a smile. “When he’s in a groove like this, he’s fun to watch.”

The screaming liner was Ohtani's third homer of the series against Texas, including his second to the opposite field. He hit two during Monday night's 9-6 victory: a 459-foot shot to center field in the seventh inning and a 388-foot shot down the left-field line in the 12th that broke a 5-5 tie.

The previous Statcast record for exit velocity on an opposite-field homer by a left-handed hitter was held by Joey Gallo, who launched one that left the bat at 113 mph for the Rangers on Sept. 25, 2017. That one was also hit in Arlington, at Texas' former home ballpark, Globe Life Park.

The overall Statcast record for hardest-hit opposite-field home run belongs to Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who crushed a two-run shot to right-center field against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on Opening Day in 2018. That ball had an exit velocity of 117.3 mph, and it was his first regular-season homer as a Yankee.