In an ESPN article written by Alden Gonzalez, Ohtani expressed his hunger to win. On Sunday, the 27-year-old pitched seven innings, giving up one run on five hits, and recording 10 strikeouts.
"I love the fans, I love the atmosphere of the team, but more than that, I want to win," Ohtani said through an interpreter. "That's the biggest thing for me. I'll leave it at that."
With his performance against the Mariners, Ohtani is likely going to win the American League MVP. His stellar hitting and pitching make Ohtani's 2021 MLB season one of the most memorable in baseball's history.
On the mound, Ohtani is 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA in 130.1 innings pitched. Put those stats against full-time American League pitchers (with minimum 20 starts) and Ohtani would rank fourth in ERA. At the plate, Ohtani has a .258/.371/.595 slash line with 45 home runs, 98 RBIs and 24 stolen bases. His 7.9 wins above replacement according to FanGraphs is an MLB high, demonstrating his total impact as a player.
Despite his contributions, Ohtani is on an Angels team out of playoff contention. The franchise hasn't made the MLB Postseason since 2014. Currently fourth in the AL West, their disappointing season is due to a lack of offensive production from their top hitters, most notably three-time AL MVP Mike Trout, who played in just 36 games this season due to several injuries.
Ohtani isn't eligible for free agency until 2023. He didn't mince words on Sunday about the disappointing feeling of not being in the playoffs and what the team needs to do going forward.
"It's very frustrating, very disappointing," Ohtani said. "If nothing changes on the team, I think it's gonna be really hard to be in playoff contention."