Shohei Ohtani picks up right where he left off in MVP season on Opening Day

Angels star Shohei Ohtani looked like he’s still in MVP on the mound on Opening Day as Los Angeles hosted the Houston Astros.

Shohei Ohtani’s otherworldly 2021 season was no fluke. The Angels pitcher seemingly set out to prove that in his Opening Day appearance against the Astros.

Ohtani batted lead off and took the mound to face off with Jose Altuve and company on Thursday night.

Altuve, the first batter he faced, struck out looking to set the tone for the night.

Shohei Ohtani picks up right where he left off in MVP season on Opening Day

Houston was able to take a 1-0 lead in the third inning after Michael Brantley doubled and Alex Bregman singled to send him home.

Still, Ohtani was absolutely dealing, racking up nine strikeouts in 4.2 innings.

The Angels pulled their ace in the top of the fifth, protecting his arm after a shortened spring training. For now, fans are going to have to be content with shorter appearances from the superstar.

Ohtani was an All-Star for the first time last year, hitting 46 home runs while also maintaining a 3.18 ERA with a 9-2 record in 23 starts. The two-way player did things no one had seen in baseball since Babe Ruth.

At just 27 years old, Ohtani’s best could still be on the way as he continues to develop his arm and his bat. The goal this year is to turn his individual success into tea success with Mike Trout finally healthy. LA has missed the playoffs each year since 2014. It’s past time Ohtani got a chance to show out in October as well as April.