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Shohei Ohtani ‘Can do Better’ Says Dave Roberts; Dodgers Manager Criticises Recent Mediocre Performances

Published 04/17/2024, 5:40 AM EDT

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The two-way superstar of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Shohei Ohtani finds himself under the microscope again. The world is not foreign to his recent struggles at the plate. Particularly with runners in scoring position. This has sparked some whispers, and more so has caught the attention of the Dodgers Manager. A critical word from him came in recently – “Aggressive”

The numbers seem to paint a concerning picture. In their recent game against the Washington Nationals, Ohtani struck out swinging at the first pitch three times with runners on base. This “aggressive” move resulted in a paltry 1-for-19 record in such situations in 2024. This has posed quite a contrast to his career average of .289 and a .618 slugging percentage. Well, if the $700 million man had delivered a clutch, the score would have tilted the other way. 

The Los Angeles Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts Advocates Against Being “Super Aggressive”

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Addressing that, Dave Roberts, known for his measured approach, vocalized his feedback. He said, “Shohei is obviously a very aggressive hitter, but he can do a better job of getting into a count.”  He highlighted that Ohtani’s recent tendency to swing at the first pitch with runners on was an important issue.

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Roberts further shared, “Right now, he’s been super aggressive, more than he’s ever been with runners in scoring position. So we’ve got to temper that back, make these guys continue to make pitches. We’ll address that.”

However, Ohtani carries a different reputation due to his overall track record. He boasts an image as a clutch hitter. And there is evidence in his career average and a staggering 45 home runs with runners in scoring position. This poses an important question – What’s causing the current slump?

What Might Change in Ohtani’s Batting Strategy? 

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Perhaps a change in Ohtani’s batting strategy? Or the is the pressure of clutch situations getting to him? Whatever the case may be, he is currently seen differently. That is, opting for an all-or-nothing swing at the first pitch. Despite the phenom’s slight slump, on Tuesday night the Dodgers bagged a 6-2 victory over the  Nationals.

It’s key to bear in mind that that even the best hitters experience slumps. While, this could simply be a temporary blip in there is no doubt that the 29-year-old is a stellar performer. However, if the aggressive approach continues to persist, it could require a more fundamental adjustment to his batting strategy. All eyes are on the Unicorn as he navigates these challenging times. 

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Written by:

Kanishka Prakash

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A pro MLB writer at EssentiallySports, Kanishka Prakash has two years of experience in content curation. Having multiple 'Editors Pick' under her name, Kanishka’s coverage focuses on the legendary Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and current superstars Shohei Ohtani and Bryce Harper. Not just that, she covers exclusives, her latest on a Chicago Cubs pitching coordinator, and also goes on to discuss trade agreements.
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