Dave Roberts addresses Shohei Ohtani's struggles with runners in scoring position

Washington Nationals v Los Angeles Dodgers
Washington Nationals v Los Angeles Dodgers / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages

Through Tuesday night, Shohei Ohtani is batting .341 with a 1.019 OPS, which is pretty much exactly what both fans and the Dodgers expect from him. He's also hit four home runs and driven in 10 runs, slotting in nicely with the other 1-6 hitters in the Dodgers lineup, who are also performing about as well as you'd think. (Some even better — Mookie Betts went 5-5 on Tuesday and is still hitting close to .400, and Will Smith is right up there with him at .369.)

However, Ohtani has still fallen prey to a common Dodgers pitfall: hitting with runners in scoring position. Despite the .341 average, he's 1-19 with RISP. Although he went 2-5 on Tuesday, the three hitless at-bats were all opportunities to drive in runs that he couldn't capitalize on.

Ohtani is a generally pretty free-swinging guy, but he seemed even more eager in RISP situations; he swung and missed at all three first pitches he saw in those scenarios on Tuesday night. After the game, Dave Roberts noted how aggressive he is at the plate, but mentioned that the Dodgers would need to encourage him to rein it in a little and be more patient at the plate.

Despite a deceptively good batting line, Dodgers' Shohei Ohtani is 1-19 with runners in scoring position

Ohtani's impatience and aggression in scoring situations is certainly understandable, given how many expectations are weighing on him. Even a player as stoic and seemingly unaffected as Ohtani must be aware of how many people come to Dodger Stadium specifically to see him do something awesome.

The .053 he's hitting with RISP in 2024 is certainly a dramatic change from where he was last year, when he was making a lot less money and playing in front of a smaller home fan base with the Angels. He was .317 with RISP and .327 with runners on. His chase, whiff, and strikeout rates have never been ideal, but his usually elite walk rate is nowhere near so far this season.

Baseball is as much a mental game as it is a physical one, if not more, and putting Ohtani's overall stats up next to his line with RISP makes it clear that something's going on his head during those high-pressure situations. It's a problem across the board for the Dodgers, but it'll be a problem they want to nip in the bud quickly, especially with Ohtani.