Nice blend of energy, poise
May, 29, 2012
By Mark Saxon | ESPNLosAngeles.com
ANAHEIM -- Tuesday marked the 17-year anniversary of Derek Jeter's major league debut.
Mike Trout was 3½ and probably had been asleep for hours when Jeter first stepped into a major league batter's box at the old Kingdome in Seattle on May 29, 1995.
Now Trout, 20, isn't just sharing a field with legends such as Jeter and a clubhouse with legends such as Albert Pujols, he is, at times, looking like he can play in their club.
And, as the Angels continue on this torrid streak that came out of nowhere, the emergence of Trout and the continued dominance of Mark Trumbo are part of the most encouraging storyline yet: The Angels are showing an explosive blend of young energy and veteran savvy.
Tempered with the return to form of seasoned, tested veterans such as Pujols and Dan Haren, young players have carried the Angels back to relevance. That blend has been there since those early days of spring training, but like most positive storylines, it was buried under a brutal six-week stretch to open the season.
Now that the Angels have won eight in a row and popped above .500 at last, it's beginning to poke through.
"This is how we expected to play. It's not like we're playing out of our minds," Haren said.
Tuesday's 5-1 win over the New York Yankees may have been the most well-rounded nine innings the Angels have played this year. Haren continued to dominate, going seven strong innings the day the Angels announced Jered Weaver was going on the disabled list. The bullpen stayed on its roll; Trout and Peter Bourjos made brilliant running catches and Trumbo and Pujols both hit mammoth home runs.
For a while, this team was just looking to take solid steps forward. Then, it broke into a jog. Now, it looks like it is in a full-fledged sprint. If it can beat the Yankees -- a team that had won five in a row coming in -- Wednesday night, it would have its first nine-game winning streak in eight years.
"When you're not swinging the bat, you're going to look dead," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We probably looked dead for about a month. It's tough to create energy when you're not getting on base and you're not moving runners and you're not getting into your game.
"Conversely, we've been doing a much better job getting on base, we've been driving the ball better, we've been putting some guys in motion."
And, if you believe the law of inertia, a body in motion tends to stay in motion.