One thing was for sure all season long, when we got the alert texts from the @TroutAtBat twitter account this season, we stopped what we were doing and tuned into the at-bat on our iPhone. He’s the only guy in baseball who can command that or who ever has commanded that. We feel like we’ve paused to take notice of what we’re seeing. And even we can’t do him justice, as good as he is.
In an odd turn of events, the Anaheim Angels have won six games in a row; including a four-game sweep of the team that was supposed to win the American League West after acquiring the two biggest arms on the trade market. In yesterday’s 8-1 win in Anaheim, Mike Trout drove in three runs and set a new career high for home runs in a season with his 31st of the year off Jesse Chavez on a pitch that was in a zone that should never be sniffed to Mike Trout:
ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. A’s and Angels on center stage, gridlocked in a 76-52 tie for first place in the AL West. The Angels are down a Garrett Richards and to be honest the first two games of the series went exactly as we planned with the A’s getting a couple wins to pull even in the division standings. This was even though Mike Trout hit his 28th home run of the season on Friday night off Sonny Gray. This was despite Gray having lights out command and going eight strong for the win.
But last night, the Angels took the game they had to take. You can’t go into the Oakland Coliseum and get swept by your foes; those rotten A’s. And Mike Trout hit a towering home run into the camera well to put the exclamation point on a 9-4 Angels win.
This was obviously one of the more impressive Trout home runs of the season – though it’s hard to pick a favorite. And you guessed it: it was a low pitch. He was also the Sunday conversation on SportsCenter with Buster Olney. He’s all the rage right now for good reason.
It is important to document as much as we can in what might Mike Trout’s first MVP season.
Last night, Mike Hllywa (Gammons Daily, Halo Hangout) and M.J. Lloyd (Baseball Prospectus, Off-Base Percentage) and I hung out in our virtual bar and talked some baseball for an hour. We rolled out the new name of the podcast, A Bat Flippin’ Good Time; and that’s what we had damnit!
Topics discussed include:
Our usual Mike Trout segment
Angels playoff odds
The David Price trade.
The Cubs’ young nucleus and bright future (and MJ’s bromance for Kris Bryant).
Thoughts on Bryce Harper’s present, future, and the Washington Nationals.
Mike H’s trip to Anaheim for a perfect day of baseball for his son’s first game.
Pop Culture Segment: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie, Breaking Bad, and more.
This was a WILD one. I had the game on for much of it, and once again the Angels’ magical season rolls on through an improbable event. It was Albert Pujols’ 19th inning home run – the 514th of his illustrious career – that kept this game from running into some Sunday morning church services.
By the end of the game, Pujols had played five innings at his old position third base. Matt Shoemaker had thrown three scoreless innings as the final arm out of the Angels pen.
Of course I dozed off somewhere in the 16th or 17th inning, at 2:30 AM ET, a time when no normal human should still be up to see how a ballgame concludes.
This was one of the better games of the season and an incredible effort by the Angels.
The Angels turned around today and lost 3-1 in the series finale. Their only run coming on Mike Trout’s 26th home run of the season. These teams were dog tired, and today would have been a great under bet with your local book. Of course, we were out baby crib shopping all day; so we didn’t capitalize.
As a baseball fan(atic), it is difficult being a displaced fan. Sure, there is MLB.tv if you want to fork out $150 for lag and a buffering screen. But it is nothing like being surrounded by the community that fully supports that same team colors that you do. It is nothing like being able to simply turn on the TV at game time, sit back with family members or friends, grab some snack food and enjoy the game on the boob tube. It is nothing like being at the ballpark of your hometown team and basking in it’s surroundings. Last week, I was able to make the pilgrimage back into friendly territory, and I got to expose my two young children to the place where my love of this game began. Continue reading →
The Angels – if you watch them each day – they’re that team this year that is high on character. That team that never seems to be out of a game. They are a gritty, grimy bunch (not without their fine items) that just seems to hang around and never actually be dead.
Today they did it again. Another day in which Mike Trout filled the stat sheet and hit an incredible home run, his 23rd of the year. Trout literally willed his team to a win today. He added a single, and a walk at a critical juncture, scoring three runs.
Josh Hamilton had three hits, Kole Calhoun added three more including a home run.
But the memorable part of this game will be when Fernando Rodney blew the save – and possibly shot his arrow a bit too early on the Angels. This isn’t a team to be declaring that you shot Jesse James on until you’re certain that he’s dead.
And the Angels had a little fun with it. We’re so glad that they did. If you’re a baseball fan, and you’re not taking the time to stop and smell the roses and enjoy what the Angels are doing this year for their fans and for all of us that follow baseball, you’re missing out.
It was their league leading 30th come-from-behind win in baseball. That says a lot about the group.
I saw most of it – and I have to give the Angels bullpen credit. The last three pitchers who appeared; Fernando Salas, Cory Rasmus, and Hector Santiago all got out of jams where I said to myself ‘they’re going to blow it right here’. As a whole, the Angels pen threw ten innings of shutout baseball after Jered Weaver left the game.
Mike Trout had three hits and scored the winning run. At almost 3:00 AM EST, I woke up to see good old Efren Navarro hit his seeing eye single back up the box to score Trout from second.
The Angels have some serious magic going this year. On Sirius MLB Network Radio this morning the host – and forgive me for not knowing his name – said if the Angels could just add one more starting pitcher he would pick them to be a World Series team out of the American League. I don’t know about that, but they’ve caught my interest this year.
The melody line – the take home message in this wonderful All Star Game of 2014 – was that Derek Jeter is passing the torch to the new face of baseball. It is absolutely fitting that Mike Trout won the MVP of this game and despite a great night from Jeter, and a home run from the man who has kept Trout from two MVP awards at a college age; it was Trout who shined the brightest in the game of stars and had the biggest hand in the American League’s victory.
I thought this was one of the best Midsummer Classics in recent memory from an entertainment standpoint. The hitters really did their job, putting a lot of hard balls in play and it seemed that the game featured about five or six well struck balls off the wall.
The game had a little bit of everything. It is absolutely amazing the kind of arms that each side was able to trot out to the mound one after the other. It’s also a credit to the great hitters in the game today that there were eight runs scored. The game also featured some great defensive plays, second to no one was Dee Gordon’s grab and throw to rob Michael Brantley of a hit.
When I saw the pitching match-up last night was Hector Santiago versus Colby Lewis in that July heat at the Ballpark in Arlington, I knew it was going to be a fun night for someone and possibly both teams. I look back on it and ask myself why the Hell wouldn’t I just bet the over total in this game and make some money. It was a safe bet.
My suspicion was correct, as Colby Lewis surrendered an astounding 13 hits, 13 runs, 11 of which were earned in just 2 and 1/3 innings. Nice assist by his manager Ron Washington in deciding it was a good night just to leave Colby to the wolves of the Angels lineup.
Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout each had four hits, and it seemed that they had them before the first half of the game was over. Trout moved his OPS to 1.003 with the monster game, and got a low pitch off Colby Lewis that landed on that pretty lawn in center out in the heart of Texas.
When it was over, the Angels had compiled a 15-6 win. In the loss, future (maybe) Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre had three hits including a home run. It was the Angels 54th win of the season and the first credited to Hector Santiago.
Here’s Mike Trout’s 21st home run of the season, off poor Colby Lewis:
We had just returned home from our local fireworks display when the Angels gridlocked the Astros at 6-6 on a Howie Kendrick double. As the game headed to the bottom of the ninth inning, we saw that Mike Trout would lead off the inning, and said to ourselves wouldn’t it be just like Trout to do something huge on July 4th to win the game for his team, less than an hour that the news broke that their division rivals had acquired two arms in a big trade (including Jeff Samardzija) that probably puts them out of reach of being caught.
Tony Sipp dealt Trout a low 0-2 pitch, a sin that he would never survive. As the ball went flying into the dark night air, the man that some are calling the runaway AL MVP won another game for his team.
Here it is, forever for your enjoyment. Even though forever isn’t enough time to appreciate how good Mike Trout is right now in the year 2014; at the summer’s highest point.
There is almost nothing better than when you get a doubleheader of a team you really want to watch. The Angels and White Sox were rained out last night and baseball did everyone a solid by starting game one at 5:05 ET, with game two getting underway at 8:40 ET, basically right now.
It was one of those weird things where you aren’t sure why these teams didn’t play in the afternoon for game one and then at night for game two, with plenty of rest in between. But we’re not complaining, it’s 18 innings of Mike Trout and the surging Angels. Trout didn’t disappoint, getting Anaheim off and running with a three-run home run that tied the game at three after Jose Abreu hit his 26th. Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols added their own solo shots, and Garrett Richards improved to 9-2, going eight innings and striking out nine.
I would say more, but the Angels hot bats have a date with Scott Carroll. Shit could get out of hand. There’s nothing better than a full day of baseball in a city like Chicago with the holiday weekend looming. Life is good.
UPDATE (Wednesday): Video of the Trout homer, and box scores from game one and game two. The Angels swept the doubleheader, and enter play today at 47-35.
When I was a kid, I remember picking up one of the old RBI Baseball games at the video rental shop (I think it was R.B.I. Baseball 3) and seeing some of the cool things on the game on the back. Of course this was the early 90’s, and they couldn’t include things in the game like they do present-day. There was no franchise play, no downloads. What they loaded on the cartridge for your Sega Genesis was all you got. But the one thing that they got me with was saying ‘Sink a Pearl in the Fountains of Kansas City like Bo Jackson!’ and the genius who designed the game showed a baseball heading into the video game 8-bit fountain off a home run. From there, I told mom I had to rent it.
Mike Trout went Bo Jackson tonight, with one of the more memorable home runs of his entire career. It was a beauty. I wasn’t watching it live, I was driving home from dinner and listening on the radio and the announcers didn’t get too excited when the ball left the bat but they quickly knew it was out. I started to get texts about the home run. Then I saw the damn thing.
Mike Trout hit his 17th home run of the season, and the Angels beat Kyle Gibson and the Twins 8-6 to move to 42-33 on the season in winning their fourth straight game. The nine games over .500 represents their high-water mark on the season.
While Trout was the main story as he so often is, he wasn’t the only story. Josh Hamilton, Kole Calhoun, and Howie Kendrick also logged solid nights at the plate and the Angels overcame a tumultuous start by C.J. Wilson.
Another story that emerged was Ernesto Freri throwing a scoreless frame in the 8th inning for the hold and Joe Smith earned his sixth save. After the game Mike Scioscia (it’s so hard to spell without checking) said that Smith would “remain in the back end for now”.
The Angels are a fun team and they’re going to continue to hang around, we believe.