It’s good to be home. Long road trips are never fun, especially when a team has struggled as the Angels have this season. That said time flies when you’re having some fun and the guys certainly had some fun on this last roadie.
Amazing that just over a week ago we were in Seattle getting ready for a weekend series against the M’s and much of the talk was about a couple of national articles that had appeared online. While those outside of the traveling party may have been consumed by the ghost-source “speculation,” the guys in the clubhouse didn’t let it bother them…hence pretty good baseball was played in the Emerald City.
In St. Petersburg, it was much of the same. Halos didn’t fare well against the Rays in 2012, managing just a 1-9 record. Knowing that and seeing where the team was at in the 9th inning of Tuesday’s game, it was starting to feel as if that streak was going to continue…but a come from behind win helped keep the streak alive to start the trip. After dropping game 2 to American League Rookie of the Year candidate Chris Archer, the Halos capped off the series win behind Jason Vargas’ 7 shutout innings to give a the Angels a 5-1 record thru the first two legs of the trip (great thing about Vargas’ performance was the fact his command was suspect in the 1st inning. He put himself in a bases loaded situation before working his way out of it and dropping it into a different gear for the next 6 innings…it was fun to watch).
In Milwaukee, it was much of the same. Like Garrett Richards versus the Rays, Jered Weaver struggled with his command in game one but was able to bob and weave (no pun intended) his way through 6 shutout innings in picking up his 9th win of the year. It was the first back-to-back road shutouts for the Angels since May 1999 at the New York Yankees. Saturday night, the Halos pulled off another come from behind win courtesy of Josh Hamilton’s 2-out, pinch-hit 2B and Hank Conger’s pinch-hit 2-run HR. The Angels would manage yet another come from behind win on Sunday, scoring 4 runs in the 7th inning. The big hit coming off the bat of another American League ROY candidate, J.B. Shuck, who doubled with the bases loaded to put the Halos up for good. Ernesto Frieri, about as “locked in” as I’ve seen him in some time, came into the game in the 8th for the 5-out save and got it done…5 batters, 4 strikeouts and a lazy fly ball to RF to cap off the sweep and an 8-1 road trip (8-1 mark on this trip matched the best record all-time (winning %) for the Angels on a road trip of 9+ games…the other was June 22 – July 1, 1987, also 8-1 record).
One last thing…Mike Trout, in Sunday’s game, had a 2B in the 1st, 3b in the 3rd, 1B in the 6th and came up to bat with 2 outs in the 7th and was intentionally walked by Ron Roenicke. Normally I wouldn’t make a big deal about this because what was once a lead for the Brewers turned into a deficit with the Shuck 2B two batters before. Now down by a run, I understood that an intentional walk would more than likely occur with Trout at the plate.
What I didn’t expect was the boo’s that resonated throughout Miller Park because of the IBB. Trout was looking for his 2nd cycle of his career/season and needed a HR to accomplish the feat (the same thing he needed and got against the Mariners). Who knows what Trout would’ve done had he been given the opportunity but I do know that you never put anything past this kid. According to STATS LLC, Trout could’ve become the youngest player ever to reach 2 career cycles, surpassing Mike Tiernan who did it at 23 years, 158 days back in 1890. 1890!!! The kid is special.
Courtesy of Ron Schlueter this morning, here are a couple of “other” Trout notes that are fun to look at.
Mike Trout fell a HR shy of the cycle and also drew a walk on Sunday. Trout’s afternoon pushed his slash line to .334/.431/.577 and raised his extra-base hit total to 67. Five points that can be made about Trout’s season and career, as it stands after this latest exhibition.
- Trout’s OPS this season would be the 6th highest in the modern era for any qualifying player in his age-21 season. Adjusted for league and ballpark, his 183 OPS+ would be the highest;
- Totaling up his work in his career, Trout’s OPS+ stands at 167. No player with at least 300 games through his age-21 season has ever had a career OPS+ that high at the end of that age-21 season;
- Trout’s 67 extra-base hits are currently the 15th most for a player in his age-21 season. Of the 14 players ahead of him, two also had at least 29 steals (Trout’s current total). In 1972, Cesar Cedeño had 69 extra-base hit and 55 steals. In 1960, Vada Pinson had 69 extra-base hits and 32 steals;
- Trout has 143 extra-base hits and 82 steals for his career. 10 players have had more extra-base hits through their age-21 season and one of those 10 – Cedeño again – also had more steals. Cedeño was sitting at 157 extra-base hits and 92 stolen bases;
- Trout has reached safely 258 times this season – 14th most for a player in his age-21 season. The rate per team game (1.91) would put Trout above 300 for the season. The highest total ever produced by a player in his age-21 season is Rickey Henderson’s 301 in 1980.
Just livin’ the dream…