The 2016 All Star Game started off with a bang, but ended like most All Star Games do. Low-scoring and tight. The pitching was just a bit ahead of the hitting.
The early announcement was pretty cool – from now on the National League batting champion will be known as the Tony Gwynn Batting Champion. Rod Carew was on hand, because the American League batting title winner will be known as the Rod Carew hitting champion. I’m in favor of this, and a big Tony Gwynn fan.
From there, the moments you’ll remember were Kris Bryant homering off Chris Sale to put the National League up 1-0. Guys were really lining shots all over the place. Bryce Harper mixed in a double. Mike Trout of course got a hit. Xander Bogaerts doubled.
Mike Trout wrecked the Texas Rangers this weekend in Anaheim. He ended the weekend with a four-hit performance, two home runs, and five RBI. His grand slam was merely the exclamation point.
There are so many guys around baseball absolutely wrecking things this year. It seems like; to a degree, offense is back in the game. Big time offense. Of all those guys, and all the youngsters who are making a big impression as the future of the game, Mike Trout stands above them all as the one immortal. The Mickey Mantle of the present.
At the conclusion of today’s game, Trout has 31 home runs to lead baseball, 64 RBI, 10 stolen bases, a .315 batting average, a .405 on-base percentage, a 1.038 OPS and a WAR fast approaching seven. The Angels are a game in first place, and Trout is going to win the second of what should have been his fourth MVP award. He’s 23 years of age.
Every single time you, I, or anyone decides to say ‘(fill in the blank with player name) is overtaking Mike Trout as the best player in baseball’ he gives you a startling reminder that the statement isn’t even close to being true.
And what the Hell were these Rangers pitchers thinking to continue throwing fastballs low in the zone? Must have had a death wish.
Right now Pujols is only a 2.5 bWAR, which is a far cry from the days when he posted 8.5 to 9.7 regularly. But I’m a guy who loves power. Since May 28th, Pujols has now homered 21 times and owns an OPS over 1.000, showing that in flashes he can absolutely be the great Pujols of old. He just seems to be a habitual slow starter, overcoming an April in which he hit .208 with only three home runs and nine RBI.
I wish there was more out there on the web to what is making Pujols go – but details seem nary at the moment. It’s hard for one not to have the thought enter their mind; to ask themselves if the great slugger is doing this completely clean. Power is usually the last redeeming quality to go, and this especially holds true with the legends.
It’s impressive to me that in his age 35 season, Pujols is going to pull some MVP votes. He was an aging horse a while ago who had been put out to pasture and readied for the glue factory by scouts and fans alike. It appears at the moment that the guy has a lot more in the tank and his career is going to wind down as it should.
We did a podcast Friday afternoon with our buddy M.J. Lloyd, filling in for Mike Hllywa on the Monkeys With a Halo Podcast. During the gratuitous Mike Trout segment – a segment that has become tradition when M.J. and I do a podcast together – we pointed out that with all the amazing talents in baseball today who do a great job taking the spotlight off Mike Trout; he’s still at the top of the mountain.
And about a half hour after your likely midnight….
I like a lot of scoring in my baseball; but it’s always kind of special when there’s a 1-0 game played and the home team wins it with a home run from their star in the bottom of the ninth. Wade Miley allowed just a double to Kole Calhoun in seven innings, and the second hit of the game for those magical Halos won them the game.
The blast was (quietly?) Trout’s 27th of the season, tops among all American Leaguers.
This all follows up of course him giving the American League homefield in the World Series with his second consecutive All Star Game MVP. Mike Trout is king of the baseballers.
It felt a little bit like the 2015 MLB All Star Game left a lot to be desired. Even I admitted to some friends that the lack of offense and fireworks was painful.
At the end of the day, the headline story was the same as the 2014 All Star Game: Mike Trout adds another luxury vehicle to his All Star Game Most Valuable Player garage. The guy is absolutely amazing, and not human. He is still the best player in the game today, and he shows it when he’s up against the best in the world and offense comes at a premium.
Here’s the best video we could find of Trout leading off the game with a home run against Zach Greinke. It was a lead the American League would not relinquish by the end of the night despite the NL tying the game 1-1 early. The closest the NL would come after that would be when Andrew McCutchen homered to left field.
Clayton Kershaw had a subpar showing, allowing the AL to hang several runs on him and put the game away.
Bryce Harper didn’t have a great showing in the game because the American League was able to trot out three left-handed pitchers against him.
All in all, the story was about Trout, Pete Rose being involved in the game, the five living legends who walked on the field before the game (really special moment), and the city of Cincinnati showing what a great baseball town it truly is; even if the Reds are about to hold a full-fledged firesale.
I regretted not being there for this game. I pictured myself there for years leading up to it since the day it was announced – but with the way the game unfolded – I was happy I didn’t spend the $700 or so for a subpar seat and cost my family all that money.
This should have been up on the blog a lot earlier in the week, but hey we’ve been busy. Mike Trout played a short two game slate at Coors Field this past week. What follows is the carnage he left in his wake.
Mike Trout is already superhuman. When you drop him in a run-scoring environment like Coors Field, he morphs into a mutant and shit like this happens.
Tonight on A Bat Flippin’ Good Time Podcast, I was joined by Mike Hllywa and M.J. Lloyd. I thought we had a great little show here tonight, one of our better efforts; but then again I am the same guy who thought it was a good idea to bet my hard earned, real-life wages against Matt Harvey today when he faced off with C.C. Sabathia.
That said, we talked about a lot of great topics tonight:
Josh Hamilton traded to the Texas Rangers
The debt of MLB Statcast
Surprises in baseball: the New York Mets, the Kansas City Royals, Nelson Cruz, and others.
Our usual Mike Trout mention
The Royals want to fight everybody
Kris Bryant, Giancarlo Stanton chatter
Clint tells a story on the Yips
Media markets in baseball – where is great, and where is a pressure cooker?
And as always, there’s a lot of golden stuff in between. Like Hllywa’s one-liners. Or me getting his last name right finally after eight tries. Or M.J.’s goat. If you have an hour at lunch and you’re allowed to put your headphones on, eat your lunch, zone out and listen to some great baseball talk; you should enjoy this installment.
Texting with my buddy M.J. Lloyd before tonight’s ballgame, he brought up a good point. In today’s sport world, everyone is always searching for the ‘next Trout’ or ‘next Kershaw’. It leads to diminished returns and not really appreciating what is in front of us. As M.J. (wise man in the ways of the Trout) pointed out, he’s essentially ruined being a prospect for the next 20 years. There won’t be another Trout in our lifetime. Just like there’s only been one Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams and the Darryl Strawberry’s who came along after them did not reach the lofty expectations set by the legend.
Tonight, the legend of Mike Trout grows.
So Mike Trout’s 100th career home run will go into the record books, a textbook Trout blast into the Crawford Boxes in Houston off Roberto Hernandez (he’ll always be Fausto Carmona to us). It of course comes in an Angels win, because that’s what big games from Mike Trout usually result in for his franchise. Mike Trout is now the youngest member of the 100 home run/100 stolen base club in baseball history.
Feather in his cap of all the other insane things he’s done. I am sitting here currently debating whether or not he’s the best talent that I’ve ever seen. Some would want to bring Bonds into the conversation; for me in terms of the eye test and pound for pound clean talent; it’s between him and Junior Griffey. That’s the only thing I can relate what I’m seeing from Trout to.
Finally, M.J. added: “The worst thing a prospect could be called now is the next Mike Trout”. Yes. Yes Mr. Lloyd you are correct.
Mike Trout is the best player on the planet, and he’s doing everything in his power to prove that he’s maybe the best of my lifetime. I made sure I didn’t miss his first at-bat of the season against Felix Hernandez, remembering well what he did one year ago to him on Opening Day.
Trout didn’t disappoint. He had an absolutely incredible at-bat which seemed to leave Felix appearing flustered while the Kings Court in Seattle cheered for the putaway pitch Hernandez simply didn’t have in his arsenal.
And then Trout finally subdued and forced the American league’s best pitcher into a ‘mistake’ that got hit over the center field wall and gave the Angels a 1-0 lead. I couldn’t believe it, and then yes I could. It’s Mike Trout. He’s not human. He’s once in a lifetime.
Before that homer Trout was a career .367 hitter with a 1.022 OPS in 54 plate appearances against King Felix. He owns the man. Felix checks under his bed at night for Mike Trout boogeymen.
The Marlins sure did squander a chance to win and will have a hard time reaching the 106-win season the MLB The Show predicted them to have if they play often like they did today. They also had a rain delay despite having a retractable roof. Jeffrey Loria hasn’t figured out how to operate his billion dollar toy yet.
Really well played game in Houston tonight, and it went by quickly. The Astros got themselves a nice 2-0 win and slipped by a lights-out Corey Kluber because Dallas Kuechel was equally dominant.
It seems like every April, the Rockies show up and beat the Cowboy Hell out of their opponents. For those of you that chose to roster Kyle Lohse in fantasy baseball, no amount of my sorrow can fix your ratios. That shit is going to take months.
If you had JD Martinez in the ‘first player to homer in the 2015 season’ pool, you are a damn Nostradamus. The Tigers got things kicked off today with a 4-0 win in which David Price made the Twins look just as hapless as they will be against southpaws.
My seasonal fantasy teams started off on the right foot – I think Sonny Gray is firing me a no hitter as we speak. I got destroyed on DraftKings Daily Fantasy, just as I expected. Not that any of this matters to you.
Any time you can spend a solid twelve hours watching baseball with just your dog, it’s a damn good day of living. And the best part of Opening Day is there are six-plus more months of this stuff to come. We don’t have to even worry about any of that ‘the season is really flying by’ talk for quite a while.
Ready to assume Derek Jeter’s place as the face of the sport (guy can hit like Jeter never could), Mike Trout outlined his 2015 season goals today. Headlining the talk was not only making the playoffs again but avoiding a quick exit that bothered him all off-season.
“It was a terrible feeling,” Trout said Wednesday at Tempe Diablo Stadium. “A lot of the guys who were here last year know they don’t want to have that same feeling. To have that be my first [postseason] experience, it was definitely tough. You see your friends over the winter, and they sometimes bring it up. The first thing that comes to your mind is ‘We lost.'”
That really did suck beyond all belief, and we could see the Angels going into that opening round and getting rolled from a mile away. Predictably they went in after winning the most games in the American League last season and got swept by the Royals who went to the World Series.
It seemed hard to believe for some but so often in the sport – in a short best of five series especially – you can just get your legs taken out from you pretty quickly. It felt like the Angels were never really in it and it certainly didn’t feel like much more than an experience of them getting their feet wet.
We would absolutely love to see Mike Trout get another shot at the postseason in 2015. We’re betting he gets more than one hit the next time around.
In tonight’s version of Betting on Baseball, we attempt to dig ourselves out of a little hole using an elite team against a middling left-handed starting pitcher.
Baseball can be a game of emotion and adrenaline runs on a limited supply. If you watched that Royals victory the other day that put them in this game tonight, you know that they’ve used up about eight of their nine lives; and they could be feeling a bit of a hangover tonight after a highly emotional win in Kansas City in 12 innings.
Mike Trout is a Hall of Fame player, and I think he’ll do something to swing the pendulum in Anaheim’s favor at the Big A in his first career postseason game. It might be a phenomenal catch, or a clutch hit, or stealing a bag at a crucial point in the game.
The Angels know with a weak three man rotation of Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, and Matt Shoemaker, they need this game out of their ace tonight because what follows is uncertainty.
I am going to side with SportsBookupdate.com and pick the Anaheim Angels -175 to win the game straight up. And as my boy Dave Cokin adds – this is not a bad spot to try manufacturing a -1 line, playing half the wager on the Angels money line and the other half gambling on the -1.5.