clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Watch Michael Harris II rob Shohei Ohtani of a potential league-leading 40th homer

Ohtani was bidding to hit 40 homers before the calendar flipped to August, but the Braves center fielder had other ideas.

Atlanta center fielder Michael Harris II reacts during the MLB game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Atlanta Braves on July 28th, 2023 at Truist Park in Atlanta, GA. Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

If Shohei Ohtani winds up one homer short of breaking Aaron Judge’s single-season AL record, we’ll have Atlanta Braves center fielder Michael Harris II to thank.

Ohtani entered the Los Angeles Angels’ game in Atlanta on Monday night sitting on an MLB-leading 39 dingers — a bit off Judge’s pace, certainly, but nothing a hot week couldn’t fix. The presumptive AL MVP came up for his final at-bat with two on in the top of the ninth, looking to pad L.A’s 3-1 lead. And it seemed like he’d done just that, turning on a center-cut fastball and launching a high fly ball deep to dead center field.

Harris, however, had other plans:

The lack of extra insurance wouldn’t cost the Angels, who eventually closed out a big 4-1 win as they look to make up ground in the AL Wild Card race. It did cost Ohtani, though: both the chance to hit 40 homers before the end of July and cost him a much-needed step on his potential path to history.

Of course, that was also the only out Ohtani made all night; he finished 2-for-3 with a walk, improving on his already MLB-leading 1.083 OPS. He also leads the Majors in slugging percentage and triples and leads the AL in walks — and again, this is someone who is also one of the most unhittable pitchers in the sport. It really cannot be said enough: What Ohtani is doing this year has simply never been done before on a baseball field and is almost impossible to overstate.