Whether you believe the American League MVP should be won by New York Yankees star Aaron Judge or Los Angeles Angels unicorn Shohei Ohtani, that trophy debate should get a little bit hotter. That’s after Ohtani came within just four outs away of recording a no-hitter in Thursday night’s home game against the Oakland Athletics.

Although Shohei Ohtani missed on an incredible feat, he managed to join an exclusive Angels statistical club with Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan and Frank Tanana

Per Angels Senior Communications Manager Matt Birch:

“This is Shohei Ohtani’s 10th game this season with 10+ strikeouts, which leads the American League. He joins Nolan Ryan (7 times) and Frank Tanana (1976) as the only players in #Angels history with 10 games of 10+ strikeouts in a season.”

Shohei Ohtani carried a no-hit bid up to the eighth inning where he gave up a single to center field to Athletics outfielder Conner Capel. Ohtani would later fan Dermis Garcia for his 10th punchout of the night, meaning he also had just reached 10 strikeout games for the second year in a row.

It’s been a while since Shohei Ohtani last struck out that many hitters in a game. Prior to the Oakland game, the most recent start he had with at least 10 strikeouts was in a late July outing against the Texas Rangers in which he had 11 Ks. That was also the end of a ridiculous streak of six straight starts with at least 10 strikeouts for the Japanese superstar.

Shohei Ohtani doesn’t really need a no-hitter to cement his status as one of the best players in the game of baseball today just as much as Aaron Judge doesn’t need to hit another home run to be viewed as a favorite to win the AL MVP. That being said, considering that Ohtani is perceived to be behind Judge in the MVP race, a no-hitter would have been a tremendous boost to his already fantastic 2022 resume and case to win back-to-back MVP honors.

At the same time, Ohtani’s sustained brilliance on the mound and at the plate makes it harder not to feel for him and Mike Trout, who are once again going to miss the MLB playoffs despite the pair’s presence.