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‘This is Barry’s Territory’: Shohei Ohtani Unleashes a Bondsian Explosion at Oracle Park

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Shohei Ohtani’s latest feat: shrinking Oracle Park like only one man has done before. It turns out that Barry Bonds was at the stadium on Tuesday to see it firsthand.

The collapse occurred at 7:24 pm PT. San Francisco Giants starter Keaton Wynn attempted a first-pitch slider to lead off the fourth inning. It crashes. Ohtani didn’t lose. The ball left Ohtani’s bat at 183.4 mph, the hardest hit ball by any Los Angeles Dodger the previous year, and tied for the seventh-hardest hit Ohtani had hit in the first 44 games of the season with his new club.

It skied over Triples Alley and halfway across the arcade, traveling further (446 feet) than any ball in two years here. Any worries that might stifle Ohtani’s unparalleled power were also silenced here. Have you ever had any doubts? The only thing the marine layer did was keep the ball dry.

“I’m disappointed I didn’t go (in the water),” Ohtani said through Will Ireton.

This slowed down all observers. Anyone who knows this place understands its flight zones. Drop the ball There ?

Shohei Ohtani Unleashes a Bondsian Explosion at Oracle Park.

“This is Barry’s territory,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, a former teammate of Bonds.

It was Ohtani’s 12th home run of the young season. Only one hitter, Houston’s Kyle Tucker, has more. His OPS is 1.108 after his three-hit night in the Dodgers’ 10-2 win. Nobody is taller. He remains everything the Dodgers could hope for and more, the kind of miracle whose weight is felt even on a roster that includes several former MVPs. He is still just a few months away from his second elbow surgery. That’s what you pay for.

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Ohtani started better. Roberts said the two-time MVP has improved “so dramatically” it’s surprising.

“Sometimes it’s like he’s educating you and other times like he’s not paying as much attention,” Roberts said. “And I think for us he comes with the same preparation as before and the same focus. And he’s trying to improve on the margins. He wants to be a coach and he wants to be even better than he was before.

“I think he’s always been an underdog and always will be. He’s angry, he always will be. But I think he will become a better striker.”

Asked what changed, Ohtani attributed a regular sleep schedule after spending most of his life in the last few months.

Having better hitters around him also helps. The rest of the lineup was a reminder of what makes Los Angeles such an interesting place. Freddie Freeman and Will Smith followed the Ohtani’s home runs with walks. Teoscar Hernandez hit a double and Max Muncy hit a sac fly to take them home. Gavin Lux, who showed life after a slow start at the plate, rewarded Hernandez’s hit and drove him home with a triple.

“Just being in a lineup with a lot of good hitters, a lot of quality at-bats, I think has some impact,” Ohtani said.

The round eye made things a bit sloppy before it became a unique thing; after all, during that stretch in which the Dodgers won 17 of their last 21 games, they didn’t allow more than four runs in a game.

This, even though a bullp’s roster is missing four of the five most reliable first responders from a year ago. Their rotation normalized everything and found something at once. Gavin Stone was a mess a year ago. He made his way on the Open Day circuit. Now, after six single-ball innings on Tuesday, he has a 3.27 ERA. That, Roberts said, “is who he is.”

His squad produces with so much balance and strength that it turned this club into a machine. Tuesday was Ohtani’s time to shine.

The Dodgers are used to runs like this. They are made to dominate in the summer. The test will be held in October. But the path to this point involves many nights.

Ohtani’s last visit to this building was last winter. The award-winning agent walked around town, chatted with franchise icon Buster Posey and bought a Giants nameplate and hat as a souvenir. San Francisco was willing to match whatever the two-way star wanted. Ohtani is still in Los Angeles with the Dodgers with the richest contract in the history of the sport. The Giants showed themselves to yet another free agent; Tuesday was just a taste of what they will see at least 12 times a season for the next decade.

Ohtani was unable to meet Bonds during this visit, he said, although the king’s image of the house is inseparable from this place. As he expressed his admiration for the playground, the view of McCovey Cove and the history formed here, he thought of the Bonds as much as anyone else.

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