Slump-breaking Ohtani looks to ‘stop’ Jersey MVP from winning back-to-back titles

Ohtani hit back-to-back home runs (his 14th and 15th of the season) against the Chicago White Sox on 1 January to move within three of the American League (AL) home run lead with 18. He hit a two-run homer with one out in the third inning and another two-run shot with one out in the fourth inning to help the Angels to a 12-5 victory. Both home runs were massive arches, travelling 130 metres and 140 metres respectively. It was the 13th time in his big league career that Ohtani has hit multiple home runs (two or more) in a game.

Ohtani, who doubles as a pitcher and a hitter, has been in a slump lately, both on the mound and at the plate. As a pitcher, he was shaky on April 28 against the Oakland Athletics (five runs in six innings), April 4 against the St. Louis Cardinals (four runs in five innings), and April 16 against the Baltimore Orioles (five runs in seven innings), giving up four or more runs in three consecutive starts. However, he broke out of his slump with back-to-back six-inning, one-run outings against the Minnesota Twins on April 22 and the Miami Marlins on April 28.

As a hitter, the same is true. He was batting .148 (8-for-54) from the 17th of last month against Baltimore to the 30th against the White Sox, but his 13th home run of the season on the 31st, and his back-to-back homers on that day, signalled a breakout from the slump.메이저놀이터

The Yankees’ fixer, Jersey, has also been on a roll. His .342 batting average, 12 home runs, 25 RBIs, .474 slugging percentage and .882 on-base percentage over the past month have signalled the awakening of the ‘Giant of New York’. Most notably, he blasted four home runs in a three-day span against Seattle from 29-31 May to quickly take over the AL home run lead. He’s cruising to a second straight home run title.

Ohtani and his jersey are two of MLB’s most iconic stars. In the 148-year history of MLB, only 12 players have won both the league MVP and Rookie of the Year awards. Ohtani became the 11th player to do so by winning the 2018 Rookie of the Year and the 2021 MVP, while Judge became the 12th by winning the 2017 Rookie of the Year and last year’s MVP.

They’re also similar in that they’ve both made waves as rookies. When he first became a Yankees starter in 2017, Judge hit 10 home runs in his first month, establishing himself as a dominant force in the Rookie of the Year race. He finished the season as the league leader in home runs (52) and was unanimously named Rookie of the Year.

Since moving to the big leagues in 2018 after tearing up Japanese professional baseball, Ohtani has been practising the “idoryu” that seems to have disappeared from modern baseball. In his first 10 games, he went 2-0 as a pitcher and hit a home run in three straight games as a hitter, earning him the nickname “Alien.

Every year, the battle for MVP (American League) between the two players is fierce. In 2021, Ohtani was unanimously voted MVP after a stellar season at the plate. Last season, it was Judge who took home the MVP as he shook off a long injury and went into “monster mode.

Judge hit 62 home runs last year, breaking the AL record for most home runs in a season (61) set by teammate Roger Maris in 1961. It was only the third time in history and the first time in 61 years since Maris that a player unaided by banned substances has hit more than 60 homers.

Ohtani was also dominant. He posted the first 10-win, 30-homer, 200-strikeout, 30-homer seasons in franchise history last season while playing in both regulation innings and regulation at-bats, but he couldn’t overcome the symbolism of his “clean 60” jersey. Jersey swept 28 of the 30 first-place votes to win the MVP, while Ohtani took the remaining two first-place votes and 28 second-place votes.

With a bat in his left hand and a ball in his right, Ohtani, a descendant of Babe Ruth, and Judge, a Yankees icon with a monstrous home run cannon, have begun a battle for the title of Most Valuable Player this season. This is the rivalry of the century, not only in the past and present, but also in the future.

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