Boone’s mistake paves the way for Shohei Ohtani to swing the game against Yankees

Yankees' Aaron Boone and Angels' Shohei Ohtani
Sara Molnick
Tuesday July 18, 2023

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — During Monday night’s game, the Yankees made a strategic decision to intentionally walk Shohei Ohtani, load the bases, and successfully maneuvered out of a tight situation in the fifth inning. However, when they faced a similar scenario two innings later, Yankees manager Aaron Boone chose not to intentionally walk the two-way star, and it had costly ramifications. Shohei Ohtani hit a game-tying home run and helped the Angels rally to beat the Yankees.

While facing the Angels’ superstar, the Yankees experienced firsthand why every competitive team is eager for the opportunity to potentially acquire Shohei Ohtani during the trade deadline. The two-way star demonstrated his extraordinary abilities by smashing his 35th home run of the season, sending the ball soaring over the left-center field fence, which resulted in a 3-3 tie against the Yankees. Celebrating his remarkable feat, Shohei Ohtani added a stylish bat flip, extending his arm and the bat before tossing it, all while beginning his jog around the bases.

According to the YES Network broadcast, Ohtani’s recent home run against Yankees pitcher Michael King marked the second time he had hit a home run off the Yankees pitcher in his career. The reliever’s unfortunate streak persisted as he found himself in a difficult situation, loading the bases with two outs after Ohtani’s home run, with two walks and a hit-by-pitch. As a result, the Angels went on to secure a 4-3 victory over the Yankees in extra innings.

Boone’s erroneous decision let Shohei Ohtani steal the game

In the fifth, the Yankees took proactive measures to prevent Shohei Ohtani from driving in any runs. With the game still scoreless, the Angels had runners on first and third while facing Luis Severino. To avoid Shohei Ohtani’s dangerous hitting, Aaron Boone opted to intentionally walk him, loading the bases and prompting a matchup against Mickey Moniak.

Their strategic move paid off. Severino managed to take a commanding 0-2 lead in the count but then faced a bit of pressure as he threw three consecutive balls. However, he skillfully worked his way out of the difficult situation, validating the Yankees’ decision to intentionally walk Shohei Ohtani. The payoff came when Moniak hit a line drive to right field, resulting in a crucial out as Oswaldo Cabrera made the catch.

However, two innings later, despite receiving a mound visit from pitching coach Matt Blake, the Yankees chose to pitch to Shohei Ohtani again. King pitched a sinker that failed to find the strike zone, and the Angels’ star responded by fouling off the following pitch.

Subsequently, King delivered a powerful 96 mph fastball that breezed past the Angels’ versatile star. The following pitch was another 96 mph fastball and within the strike zone. Shohei Ohtani lifted it approximately 403 feet for a game-tying home run that brought the Angels back into contention.

Shohei Ohtani’s impressive performance extended beyond his home run, as he managed to single in the first inning and double in the fourth inning during Monday night’s game. With his fourth at-bat, he approached the possibility of achieving a cycle by needing a triple, a feat he previously accomplished in 2019 and came close to replicating in April. Notably, Shohei Ohtani had been part of the starting lineup in that game as well.

However, he began the ninth inning with a strikeout.


Shohei Ohtani’s home run against the Yankees further solidified his impressive performance at the beginning of the 2023 season. Each home run, strong outing, and productive at-bat he delivers only serves to enhance his value as the trade deadline approaches. The Angels’ declining performance might position them in a situation where they are no longer in playoff contention, potentially making Shohei Ohtani a highly sought-after asset for contending teams.

Manager Aaron Boone clarified his reasoning behind not intentionally walking Shohei Ohtani with two outs in the seventh inning. He emphasized that, at that particular moment, Ohtani’s potential to tie the game influenced his decision. In contrast, during the fifth inning, when the game was scoreless and the Angels (47-48) had runners on the corners with two outs, he chose not to employ the intentional walk strategy.

“When we have a two-run lead there [in the seventh] — the guy hitting behind him [Mickey Moniak] is hitting .330, too,” Boone said. “So I wasn’t gonna put another runner out at second and the tying run on and the go-ahead run at the plate with a two-run lead. Now had [Escobar] gotten to second and we were behind in the count or something, different story. But no, not in that [spot].”

Boone explained that, during the seventh inning, Mickey Moniak was behind Shohei Ohtani. As he had an impressive batting average of .330, the Yankees manager didn’t want to risk putting another runner on second base with the tying run on and the go-ahead run at the plate, especially with a two-run lead. Boone clarified that if the situation had been different, such as Escobar reaching second base and being behind in the count, his decision might have been different, but it didn’t apply to that particular scenario.

The Yankees’ bullpen couldn’t defend the lead

In a game filled with strikeouts for the Yankees, the exception was their leadoff hitter, Oswald Peraza, who didn’t strike out once. Peraza’s impressive performance included reaching base in all five of his plate appearances, achieving a single, and drawing four walks. His contributions were vital, as he scored an insurance run in the top of the seventh, allowing the Yankees to take a 3-1 lead. This came after Luis Severino’s outstanding performance during six strong innings, which was a much-needed bounce-back effort for the team.

However, King was unable to maintain the lead, and he encountered trouble when he walked Escobar, which proved detrimental. This marked the second consecutive game in which he walked the opposing team’s No. 9 hitter before surrendering a two-run home run, similar to what happened with Kris Bryant of the Rockies on Friday.

While facing a 1-2 count, King delivered a 97 mph fastball that Shohei Ohtani eagerly seized, sending it soaring beyond the left-center field wall.

In the sixth inning, the Yankees extended their lead to 2-0 after Oswaldo Cabrera delivered a powerful ground-rule double to left-center field with the bases loaded. Throughout the game, the only run Severino allowed came in the bottom of the sixth, when Matt Thaiss hit a solo home run.

In the bottom of the 10th inning, pinch-hitter Michael Stefanic delivered the decisive blow, smashing a walk-off single against Nick Ramirez. This heroic hit secured a 4-3 victory for the Angels at Angel Stadium.

The Yankees’ recent performance has been disappointing, as they have suffered defeats in seven out of their last nine games. This loss, coupled with the Red Sox’ commanding 7-0 victory in Oakland, has pushed the Yankees to last place in the AL East.

During the top of the 10th inning, the Yankees had the automatic runner on third base with just one out. However, they were unable to capitalize on the scoring opportunity as Harrison Bader and Anthony Volpe both struck out.

During the bottom of the ninth inning, the Yankees (50-45) decided to pitch to Shohei Ohtani once more. Impressively, Ramirez managed to make him swing and miss at three consecutive pitches, securing a quick and decisive strikeout.

On Monday night, Ramirez took the mound for the ninth inning, although he had surrendered a game-tying home run in the 11th inning of Sunday’s defeat against the Rockies. The bullpen was shorthanded during the game because Wandy Peralta, Tommy Kahnle, and Ian Hamilton were unavailable due to their recent heavy workloads.

Boone explained that he opted to save Clay Holmes, who had also pitched on consecutive days, for a potential save situation.

The Yankees’ offensive struggles persisted as they faced an astounding 17 strikeouts, with 12 of them coming in just 5 ²/₃ innings against starting pitcher Griffin Canning. Their ongoing difficulties at the plate put significant pressure on their pitching staff, leaving them with minimal room for error.

Boone commented that he believed the team showcased several positive aspects during the game. However, he pointed out that in specific situations, they needed to make better adjustments to improve their overall performance.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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2 thoughts on “Boone’s mistake paves the way for Shohei Ohtani to swing the game against Yankees

  1. Why are you suprised? Loone has been making boneheaded decisions all year. Space and time prevents me from detailing them. He needs to go NOW!

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