3 up, 3 down: Angels 13, Tigers 0
July, 17, 2012
By Mark Saxon | ESPNLosAngeles.com
The Angels' power took a while to show up this year, but it has arrived in force.
They hit five home runs in a 13-0 win over the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on Tuesday night. Despite an anemic April, the Angels rank fifth in the American League with a .424 slugging percentage, and they're quickly moving up the ranks.
T and T. The nickname seems to be catching on these days to describe the Angels' dynamic 20-something duo of Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo. On Tuesday it looked as if they had packed explosives in their bats. For Trout's part, it seems as if every time you expect this magical run to continue, he does something more impressive. Everyone talks about his speed, but he hit an opposite-field, 430-foot home run Tuesday at a ballpark that's far from miniature. His speed isn't going to improve much, but his power could. Could he be a 40-40 threat soon? Now? You can't put any ceiling on his talent, because he just breaks through those.
T and T. Trumbo's gifts are more focused, but he's still a considerable talent. If a pitcher leaves the ball in a less-than-ideal spot, Trumbo will embarrass him with a long home run. He fell behind 0-and-2 against young Jacob Turner on Tuesday, but Turner left a pitch over the plate and a bit inside, and Trumbo crushed it to left field for a three-run home run to get the Angels out to a 4-0 lead. Trumbo's 26 home runs are only two off the league home run lead, and that's extraordinary given his age and the location of his home games.
Another youngster. The Angels would love for Garrett Richards to pitch his way back into their suddenly beleaguered rotation. They like his upside and could use a solid No. 4 or 5 starter, particularly when he's a homegrown 24-year-old. Pitching with tons of early run support, Richards seemed to relax into his stuff, and he cruised through seven innings, giving up only three hits and pitching around four walks. The fact he had only two strikeouts shouldn't be a big concern. With the big lead, he did a good job inducing quick outs.
Tigers bats. They've been clawing their way back in the AL Central in part due to a resurgent offense, but the Tigers fell behind Tuesday and did virtually nothing all game. The shutout was their first in exactly one year, a streak of 159 games and a franchise record.
Lone soldier. When your team turns somebody else's stadium into a batting practice session, pounding 18 hits, five of which leave the stadium, it's got to be painful to take an 0-for-4 and hit into two double plays. Erick Aybar had that distinction Tuesday. The frustrating part with Aybar, at times, is his extreme lack of patience. He saw just nine pitches in those four at-bats.
Stubbornness. Should it have taken 91 games to realize Trumbo was a better cleanup option than Kendrys Morales against right-handed pitchers? Mike Scioscia bowed to what seemed increasingly inevitable Tuesday and forewent breaking up the right-handed bats for a more vibrant option in the No. 4 spot. Trumbo leads the league in slugging percentage, so it seems like a pretty good idea. It probably was about a month ago, too.