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Shohei Ohtani home run tracker: Daily odds, season-long pace as he nears AL record

We’ll be keeping track of each Shohei Ohtani home run as the two-way phenom makes a run at Aaron Judge’s single-season home run record.

Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels celebrates after hitting a solo home run against the Detroit Tigers during the fourth inning of game two of a doubleheader at Comerica Park on July 27, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

It’s not an exaggeration to say that Shohei Ohtani is quite literally something that baseball hasn’t seen before. He is both baseball’s most unhittable pitcher — literally, he has the league’s lowest opponent batting average against — and its most fearsome hitter (he also has the league’s highest OPS). While muscle cramping and a fingernail issue have held him back on the mound somewhat of late, he’s more than made up for it with the bat, where he’s hit 28 homers across his last 55 games — and put himself in some very, very rare company while he’s at it.

As if his production weren’t ridiculous enough already, Aaron Judge’s newly-set AL homer record is now in play. So, as Ohtani tries to will himself into the record books (and the Angels into the playoffs) we’ll be here to keep track of it all, with daily updates on what the two-way superstar did last night and where he stands in his quest for home run history.

Shohei Ohtani home run tracker: August 4

Yesterday’s performance: 2-for-2, 1 HR, 2 BB, 2 RBI, 2 R

Thursday night was a pretty perfect microcosm of Ohtani’s time with the Angels: unprecedented individual brilliance inevitably undone by organizational incompetence. Ohtani started on the mound in a pivotal game against the Seattle Mariners, one of the teams with whom L.A. is jockeying for AL Wild Card positioning. The righty was forced to cut his outing short after four innings due to continued issues regarding cramping in his right hand, but he stayed in the game as the Angels’ DH — and not even a hand injury could keep him from joining the 40-homer club.

Ohtani is the first player this season to reach the 40-homer plateau, and his 2-for-2 performance pushed his 2023 OPS to an MLB-leading 1.098. Not only did that gave the Halos some much-needed breathing room, doubling their lead to 3-1 heading into the top of the ninth, but it also made even more history:

Of course, because this is the Angels we’re talking about, it was ultimately for nought: Closer Carlos Estevez surrendered a back-breaking grand slam to Mariners outfielder Cade Marlowe, and L.A. eventually lost, 5-3. Seattle, despite a soft-sell approach at the trade deadline, now finds itself at 57-52 and just 2.5 games out of the third and final AL Wild Card spot. Three AL East teams — the Blue Jays, Red Sox, and Yankees — are ahead of them in the queue. The Angels, meanwhile, are now 56-54 and four games out of that final spot.

162-game pace: 59

But enough about the Angels, they’re killing the vibe. Let’s talk some more about Ohtani, who remains magma-hot at the plate this year despite the health issues that have limited him on the mound. The presumptive AL MVP now leads the Majors in SLG, OPS, total bases, triples and homers, while leading the AL in walks and OBP. But that’s not all: He’s also given himself an outside shot at catching or breaking Judge’s single-season AL homer record of 62. After dinger No. 40 on Thursday night, Ohtani is on pace to finish with 59 — with another scorching week, he could have himself right back on track.

Daily home run prop: Over 0.5 +400, Under 0.5 -275

So, what are the odds he keeps things rolling on Friday? DraftKings Sportsbook thinks he may have his work cut out for him, and it’s not hard to see why: Ohtani and the Angels will be facing off against Mariners ace Luis Castillo, one of Ohtani’s main competitors for the AL Cy Young award this year. For as good as Castillo’s been in 2023, though — he’s third in the AL in ERA and WHIP — the numbers are actually on Ohtani’s side here. The Japanese phenom is 3-for-8 in his career against Castillo, with a double, a homer and an .875 SLG.