ANAHEIM, Calif. — On a night when his Rays were no-hit and lost 12-0, Brett Phillips was claiming victory.
Usually joking — we think — after his occasional blowout-loss pitching appearances that he was the best two-way player in the game, the Rays outfielder found success Tuesday in holding the game’s true two-way superstar, Shohei Ohtani, to a double during an eighth-inning at-bat.
“You know, that was a very highly anticipated matchup there, the American Shohei versus the Japanese Shohei,” Phillips said. “I’ve heard about him and how much power he has, but what I saw is off the wall. So I don’t know if it was me and my stuff — he just wasn’t used to it or didn’t recognize it — but all I see is that man hitting home runs, and he couldn’t even take me deep.
“So I guess, does that make me the better Shohei? We’ll let everyone decide.”
Phillips gave up a home run to Mike Trout before facing Ohtani and allowed another right afterward to Anthony Rendon, who batted left-handed for the first time in his career. “Honestly, I didn’t even know that was him until he crossed the plate and I saw his last name,” Phillips said.
But limiting Ohtani, who was aiming for his 100th homer in the major leagues, to a double was a success in Phillips’ eyes.
“When he got to second base, I told him he needs to do more weights,” Phillips said. “Because, again, I’ve heard about him, but not (Tuesday). No homer from him.”
Phillips, known for some occasional hyperbole, was asked whether he thinks Ohtani — who pitches against the Rays on Wednesday — knows about him and his work in the outfield and on the mound.
“Of course,” Phillips said, much to the amusement of several Japanese reporters also at his locker. “He knows I’m the best two-way player in the game. He’s heard about me.”
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