Wednesday, June 27, 2012
3 up, 3 down: Angels 13, Orioles 1
By Mark Saxon
The Mike Trout legend is growing.
Trout, a 20-year old who leads the league in hitting, made a ridiculous leaping grab to take away a home run and had four hits Wednesday in the Angels' 13-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. The Angels' offense, which took April off, is working overtime lately. The Angels banged out 33 hits in the two games in Baltimore and they're off to Toronto, another hitter's park.
Flying fish. Trout isn't just fast. He can jump, too, judging by his acrobatic leap to take a home run away from J.J. Hardy. He got a high-five from Torii Hunter after the play and that's appropriate, because -- a few years ago -- Hunter had a reputation for making those catches. Oh yeah, Trout also went 4-for-6, scored three runs and is batting .344. He's emerging as, perhaps, the frontrunner for first-half MVP. Not on the Angels, but in the American League.
Staying simple. Kendrys Morales has a nice approach with runners on base. He seems to concentrate on making contact and hitting the ball up the middle. The Angels gave him all sorts of opportunities and he came through, going 3-for-5 and driving in four runs. If he's going to bat ahead of Mark Trumbo, it helps to have this kind of production. The key for this offense is depth. Pitchers can't catch their breath.
Ace pace. Jered Weaver doesn't have bad numbers in many stadiums, but Camden Yards and the Ballpark in Arlington stand out. Not that he's alone there. Most pitchers hate working in both places. Weaver didn't let a 9.64 ERA in Baltimore slow him down. The Angels kept padding their lead and he pitched into the seventh inning in his second start since coming off the disabled list because of back spasms. At 8-1 with a 2.32 ERA, Weaver looks like an All-Star lock. He might even start the game for the second year in a row.
Strategy. With the Angels leading 7-1 in the fourth inning, Buck Showalter chose to intentionally walk Albert Pujols, putting runners at the corners. That would have been fairly standard procedure a couple of years ago in the National League, but has Showalter seen the numbers lately? It also seems a bit pointless with such a lopsided score.
Shut out. Trumbo has absolutely carried the Angels at times this season, but it had to be a bit disappointing to watch the rest of the lineup erupt while he went 0-for-5. Trumbo's production has been a bit soft lately, with three hits in his last 17 at-bats. One thing he has been able to do compared to last year, however, is cut down on his strikeouts. He has just one in that span.
Streak snapped.Erick Aybar's 11-game hitting streak came to an end. It was a good ride, helping keep things moving through the bottom of the lineup. He was having a miserable year before it began, batting .221, but he has it up to a reasonable .250 now. About that on-base percentage, though... .286? That's rough, but five of Aybar's 11 walks have come in June.