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MLB Notes: Shohei Ohtani on Pace to Shatter Career-High Total in Stolen Bases

Superstar Shohei Ohtani stole his 15th base of the 2024 MLB season in the Dodgers' 15-2 rout of the Rangers on June 11. He had a career-best 26 steals in 2021.

Shohei Ohtani is celebrated for his prolific home run-hitting skills, with 187 round-trippers in 767 MLB career games.

He's also an excellent baserunner. Ohtani swiped his 15th base of the 2024 season on Tuesday, June 11. In the same game, he also belted his 16th homer, a two-run blast in the sixth inning, as the Los Angeles Dodgers routed the reigning World Series champion Texas Rangers 15-2. It was his first homer since June 5.

Ohtani wasted no time in reminding the Rangers that he's a running threat on the basepaths. He walked in the first inning and stole second base. Moments later, teammate Will Smith clubbed a three-run homer to make it 3-0 at Dodger Stadium.

In 2021, Ohtani had a career-high 26 stolen bases for the Los Angeles Angels in 155 games. He was also caught stealing 10 times.

This season, Ohtani is well on pace to surpass that stolen base total. He picked up his 15th stolen base in his 65th game on Tuesday.

Ohtani is also enjoying more consistent success on the basepaths in 2024 than he did in 2021. Exhibit A: He's only been thrown out once trying to steal this season.

Shohei Ohtani
Shohei Ohtani belts a two-run home run in the sixth inning against the Texas Rangers on June 11 at Dodger Stadium. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SPORTS)

Shohei Ohtani Reaches Milestone

On June 1, in a game against the Colorado Rockies, Shohei Ohtani became the second Japanese player to have 100 homers and 100 stolen bases in MLB, joining Ichiro Suzuki (117 homers, 509 steals).

Through June 11, Ohtani is batting .312 with 16 homers and 43 RBIs. He's also scored a National League-best 50 runs for the Dodgers (42-26), who are in first place in the NL West.

Toronto Blue Jays starter Yusei Kikuchi pitches against the Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning on June 11 at American Family Field. (Michael McLoone/USA TODAY SPORTS)

Toronto's Kikuchi Improves to 4-5

In his 14th start of the season, Yusei Kikuchi struggled with his control but pitched effectively nonetheless in a five-inning effort against the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday.

The Toronto Blue Jays veteran southpaw walked four batters, but more importantly, struck out five and held the Brewers to just three hits in five innings. He didn't allow a run in Toronto's 3-0 triumph in Milwaukee.

Kikuchi improved to 4-5, recording back-to-back wins for the first time since April 16 and 22.

Blue Jays manager John Schneider said Kikuchi had a solid pitching performance.

"I thought he made really good pitches," Schneider was quoted as saying by The Associated Press. "The fastball was really good tonight against a good hitting team. As the game went on, he paired his curve and slider with it really well. Credit to him. He had to really battle."

After his workday was finished, Kikuchi assessed how it went.

"I struggled with my control more than any game this year, but for that reason, it's the kind of game one really wants to win," Kikuchi said, according to Kyodo News.

Boston Red Sox designated hitter Masataka Yoshida bats in the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies on June 11 at Fenway Park. (Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY SPORTS)

It's just a shoe!

Boston's Yoshida Appears in First MLB Game Since April 28

Masataka Yoshida returned to the Boston Red Sox lineup on Tuesday, making his first MLB appearance since April 28.

The outfielder/designated hitter had been out of the lineup with left thumb strain.

Yoshida was penciled into the lineup as Boston's No 5 hitter. He was hitless in two at-bats and walked once against the Philadelphia Phillies, who beat the Red Sox 4-1 at Fenway Park.

Chicago Cubs left-hander Shota Imanaga delivers a pitch to a Cincinnati Reds batter on June 9 at Great American Ball Park. (Katie Stratman/USA TODAY SPORTS)

Cubs' Imanaga Earns Sixth Win of 2024

Chicago Cubs left-hander Shota Imanaga has a 6-1 win-loss record with a sparkling 1.96 ERA after his latest mound appearance on Sunday, June 9.

Imanaga, playing in his first season in the majors, held the Cincinnati Reds to five hits and two runs over 6⅔ innings. He struck out seven and issued one walk in the Cubs' 4-2 road victory.

How did Imanaga approach this game?

"To make the most of my strengths, I went back to attacking higher with my fastball and lower with my changeup," Imanaga told reporters at Great American Ball Park, according to Kyodo News. "I'm glad I was able to throw with good control."

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Author: Ed Odeven

Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and X (formerly Twitter) @ed_odeven.

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