Results tagged ‘ Adrian Beltre ’
Mike Trout had a 2-0 count against Mariners lefty Lucas Luetge, with one out in the eighth, an 11-0 lead in the scoreboard, and a triple, double and single in his back pocket. At that point, you figured he’d go deep. It made so much sense — too much sense — for one of the most dynamic, exhilarating, talented players in the game to hit for the cycle.
When he did, Trout (21 years, nine months and 14 days old) became the youngest player in American League history to accomplish the feat (surpassing Alex Rodriguez in 1997), the first Angels player to do it since Chone Figgins on Sept. 16, 2006, and the sixth-youngest ever.
“I didn’t really think of it ’til about the 8th inning,” Trout told FOX Sports West postgame. “I was like, ‘Man, I have a triple, double and a single.’ I got the 2-0 there and I said, ‘Hey, if I’m going to hit one, it’s going to be this pitch.’”
You have to figure Trout has at least one more of these in him.
Question is: Can he hit for the cycle more times than anybody ever?
The record is a mere three, accomplished by three players (Bob Meusel, Babe Herman and John Reilly) in Major League history. Now, Major League Baseball history is long. And there have been a lot of five-tool players to come through. The fact that nobody did it more than three times shows you the luck that’s needed to accomplish a milestone that’s somewhat, well, quirky. But is there anyone in baseball more qualified to hit for the cycle than Trout, with an unrivaled combination of speed and power?
“If I were a betting man,” Mike Scioscia told reporters postgame, “I’ve got to believe there’s another cycle in his career somewhere.”
Some additional tidbits from Trout’s cycle …
- Trout is the third-youngest player to hit for the cycle since 1930. The two younger guys were Arky Vaughan (21 years and three months in 1933) and Cesar Cedeno (21 years and five months in 1972).
- This is the seventh cycle in Angels history. Ex-shortstop Jim Fregosi had two. Two of the Angels’ seven cycles have come against the Mariners.
- First cycle in the Majors since Adrian Beltre – who also had two — on Aug. 24, 2012.
- The last Angels player to hit for the cycle at Angel Stadium was Jeff DaVanon in 2004.
- Since the RBI became an official stat in 1920, only two other players have hit for the cycle in a game where they also drove in five or more runs and stole at least one base (Tony Lazzeri in 1932; Herman in 1931).
- Trout is the first player born in the 1990s to hit for the cycle in the Majors.
- There have been 238 other cycles in baseball history. Twenty-nine players did it more than once, including George Brett, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig and, yes, Brad Wilkerson.
SP: RH Alexi Ogando (2-1, 3.32 ERA)
SP: LH Jason Vargas (0-2, 6.75 ERA)
- Yet another new face has graced the Angels’ bullpen. On Tuesday, lefty Nick Maronde was called up from Double-A Arkansas, with shortstop Tommy Field getting optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake and the Angels going with a three-man bench. The reason? Lefty Sean Burnett is currently sidelined with some tightness in his forearm, which he chalks up as part of the recovery from the removal of bone spurs in his elbow. It’s a day-to-day situation, but the Angels need as many healthy arms as possible in the ‘pen. That’s five new faces in two weeks (Maronde, Michael Roth, Dane De La Rosa, Michael Kohn and David Carpenter). The Angels now have four lefty relievers. There were times when Mike Scioscia didn’t have any.
- Erick Aybar will go with the team to Seattle, but won’t be activated off the disabled list on Thursday, as he said he was shooting for on Monday. Mike Scioscia wants Aybar to get a couple days in extended Spring Training in order to work on his prep step, since the left heel could be sensitive to playing shortstop.
- Jerome Williams still looks likely to make the start on Wednesday against the Rangers, but it isn’t official. Scioscia is waiting until postgame, just in case he has to use them. Lifetime against Texas, Williams has a 7.34 ERA. “I’m not worried about their lineup,” he said. “I’m worried about what I’m doing out there.”
- Alberto Callaspo (right calf strain) is “still not quite where you’d want him to be,” Scioscia said, but added that “there’s a probability he’ll be ready over the weekend.” Callaspo is eligible to come off the DL on Saturday.
Series No. 2 between the bitter AL West rivals, with both teams coming off weekend sweeps (the Angels over the Tigers, and the Rangers over the Mariners) …
SP: LH Derek Holland (1-1, 1.64 ERA)
SP: RH Joe Blanton (0-3, 8.59 ERA)
- It sounds like Mike Scioscia putting Hamilton in the No. 5 spot may be a platoon situation, at least for now, with Hamilton batting fifth against lefties and fourth against righties. The Rangers have back-to-back righties in this series (Alexi Ogando and Yu Darvish). “I think against a lefty, you get Trumb in there behind Albert right now until Josh finds his stride,” Scioscia said. “Against righties, we’ll put Josh back in there to see if he can stay in the middle and help Albert to take advantage of what Albert can do.”
- Hamilton (.176/.247/.324) has no issue with the move: “If I was hitting ninth, I’d be OK with it. I’d be happy not getting a hit ever again as long as we’re winning. I’m that guy.”
- Erick Aybar (left heel) ran today for the first time and is eying a return to the lineup by Thursday’s series opener against the Mariners, the first day he’s eligible to come off the DL. … Ryan Madson was scheduled to throw off flat ground on Monday and Scioscia said he’s slated to throw in another sim game before the end of this homestand. … Alberto Callaspo (right calf) continues to hit and take grounders, but still isn’t running. He’s thinking he can be back by the end of the week.
Less than a week later, though, that went out the window.
“When Josh was originally signed and we had Kendrys Morales, who’s a bat we felt was going to be there, I think there was definitely some lineups that looked like it worked with Josh in the 2-hole,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, referencing an eventual trade that sent Morales to the Mariners for Jason Vargas on Dec. 19, four days after Hamilton was signed to a five-year, $125 million contract.
“It might evolve to adjusting it a little bit here or there. But right now the way we line up, and wanting to take advantage of Albert’s on-base percentage, where you project it to be, Josh hitting behind him makes sense right now both from a balance and production perspective.”
Pujols’ career on-base percentage is .414; Hamilton’s is .363. It makes sense to bat Albert third and Hamilton fourth, for the simple fact that he’d get more chances throughout the course of a season. For the Tigers, Prince Fielder started all 162 games last year in the cleanup spot and got 690 plate appearances; Miguel Cabrera started one less game in the No. 3 spot and finished with 697 plate appearances.
Subtle difference, sure, but you’re usually going to want the better hitter getting those extra 10 or 15 plate appearances.
Consider: Nobody in baseball saw fewer fastballs than Hamilton last year (44.6 percent) and nobody swung at more pitches outside of the strike zone (45.4 percent). With Pujols in the on-deck circle, and Mike Trout frequently on base, Hamilton only figures to see more fastballs and more strikes if he’s batting third rather than fourth.
But would pitchers really attack him much different — significantly different than they would if Hamilton batted fourth and Mark Trumbo was behind him?
Scioscia doesn’t think so, pointing to the fact Adrian Beltre was protecting him in Texas and Hamilton still saw an inordinate amount of breaking balls out of the strike zone. So, for now at least, he’s sticking to Hamilton as his cleanup hitter.
“I think it’s just a function of how Josh was pitched,” Scioscia said. “Sometimes the pitches [hitters] see is not going to be contingent on who’s behind him, it’s just going to be how guys are trying to pitch to them. And with Josh, I think it was more that case than anything else.”
I wrote recently about the Angels’ own prestigious “Big Three” of Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton — how they could potentially hold up historically and in this era.
But how do they hold up in 2013? There’s little debate that the Angels now have the most talented and celebrated lineup trio in baseball, giving them arguably the game’s most potent offense. But I was a little stunned that their 2012 stats didn’t show it.
In fact, when combining each of their OPS from 2012, the Angels’ trio ranked third, behind those of the Tigers and Reds. Below is the top 15, based on combined OPS of the top three current players in each lineup (minimum is 400 plate appearances) …
- Tigers (Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Austin Jackson): 2.795
- Reds (Joey Votto, Ryan Ludwick, Jay Bruce): 2.759
- Angels (Trout, Pujols, Hamilton): 2.752
- Brewers (Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez, Corey Hart): 2.729
- Red Sox (David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli*): 2.635
- Blue Jays (Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera): 2.627
- Cardinals (Matt Holliday, Allen Craig, Yadier Molina): 2.627
- Rangers (Adrian Beltre, David Murphy, A.J. Pierzynski): 2.607
- Rockies (Carlos Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler, Tyler Colvin): 2.602
- Pirates (Andrew McCutchen, Garrett Jones, Pedro Alvarez): 2.569
- D-backs (Aaron Hill, Paul Goldschmidt, Jason Kubel): 2.565
- Yankees (Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira): 2.547
- Twins (Josh Willingham, Joe Mauer, Ryan Doumit): 2.532
- Giants (Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Belt): 2.527
- Dodgers (Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Adrian Gonzalez): 2.524
* Napoli’s deal still hasn’t been finalized.
** A special thanks to all of you for making this blog the 10th-most popular among MLB.com beat writers in 2012. You’re the whipped cream on my sundae.
Well, the A’s already won, beating the Tigers, 12-2, to salvage the series and put the Angels an even four games out of the second Wild Card spot entering play today. But the Rangers are without Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre once again. Then again, it surely didn’t hurt them last night.
UPDATE: Beltre talked his way in and is indeed in. Here’s the new lineup …
Pitching: RH Yu Darvish (15-9, 4.02 ERA)
Pitching: RH Zack Greinke (5-2, 3.78 ERA)
- C.J. Wilson and Mike Scioscia had yet another “strategy meeting” on Thursday afternoon, a few hours after he gave up three runs and walked three in a 66-pitch, 2 2/3-inning outing. Scioscia didn’t want to go into details, saying only that they’re trying to “get his best stuff out there on the field” and that they “have a lot of confidence in what he can do” and just “try to refine some simple things.” Wilson will stay in the rotation. Asked if it was about game plan or execution, Scioscia said: “I think it is all intertwined. I think if you’re trying to execute things that aren’t things that you’re doing comfortably, at a certain time, then maybe you have to make some simple adjustments. Now, when he’s pitched some great baseball, part of what his talent is is to be able to do so much with the baseball. Hopefully he’s going to get comfortable and eventually get back to that. You can’t overstate how much we need our starters to do what they’re capable of, and that’s important.”
- Scioscia, on taking Jerome Williams out after 4 1/3 innings last night: “There are a number of reasons for the decision. We had some matchups coming up that we were looking at. I thought Jerome pitched great baseball and got us to a certain point, and obviously was an important part of keeping us in that game. But he went 4 1/3 innings and hasn’t been stretched out past that point for a long time. We didn’t feel there was a need to stretch him, and going to the eighth inning, we had some arms that we felt were going to go out there and hold the deficit and unfortunately it didn’t happen.”
- Peter Bourjos has been dealing with an intestinal problem the last couple of days, hindering his availability for “anything significant,” Scioscia said. Of course, it’s not like he would’ve been given the opportunity to do anything of significance regardless.
- Scioscia won’t get into the politics of the AL MVP, but he will say one thing for sure: “Torii Hunter should win the Gold Glove,” he volunteered today. “No doubt. There’s some good right fielders. [Josh] Reddick is good, obviously, [Jeff] Francouer. But to see what Torii has brought on range, and what he’s done on the first and third, there aren’t many guys better. There aren’t many guys in my time in baseball that I’ve seen do what Torii does.
The game hasn’t even started yet, but it feels like the Angels already have the lead. That’s because things aren’t looking very good on the Rangers side this afternoon. Not only are Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre not in the lineup, they’re not even present at the ballpark right now. Hamilton keeps having vision problems, related to the sinus infection that knocked him out of Tuesday’s game, and Beltre has some intestinal problems that have him at home. It’s very likely that neither could play in tomorrow’s series finale, either …
Pitching: LH Derek Holland (10-6, 4.50 ERA)
Pitching: LH C.J. Wilson (12-9, 3.73 ERA)
- Pujols, as you’ve noticed, is back with the team after spending Tuesday in Kansas City to be with his wife and newborn. Everything went well with the pregnancy; it was just hospital policy that his wife stay an extra day, and Pujols wanted to make sure he was there for her. “I think everyone knows that after God, family is the most important thing. I wanted to be with the team, but I put family before anything. Anyone who knows me knows that’s the most important thing. It’s a blessing to play baseball every day, but when it comes to family, I put that first.”
- Jim Leyland recently said he’d be “shocked” if the AL MVP didn’t go to Miguel Cabrera, who’s darn close to a Triple Crown with only two weeks remaining. Mike Scioscia isn’t as committal, saying: “There’s so many things. Miguel Cabrera being so close to a Triple Crown. He has that team in a pennant race. Mike Trout plays a premium defensive position every day and brings presence out there that is incredible. What he’s done as a leadoff hitter and the amount of runs he’s scored, the stolen bases – there’s so many things for each guy. Each guy is having an extraordinary season.
- Ervin Santana, dealing with some soreness tightness, is feeling fine now and is set to start on Friday against the White Sox. He’ll be followed by Dan Haren and Jered Weaver, respectively.
- Speaking of Weaver, who notched his 100th career win on Tuesday — his career winning percentage of .662 (100-51) is tops in Angels history.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia will often tell you that he doesn’t look at the standings. “Our focus is in-house,” is one of his favorite cliches. But with 15 games left, a three-game deficit of the Orioles for the second American League Wild Card spot, and no head-to-head games remaining against the teams in front of them (unless you coutn the Rangers, which they have basically no shot at catching), Scioscia can’t say that anymore. “There’s a time it’s relevant [to look at the standings] and there’s a time it’s not relevant,” he said. “It’s relevant now.” …
Pitching: RH Ryan Dempster (6-1, 4.11 ERA)
Pitching: RH Jered Weaver (17-4, 2.74 ERA)
- If you didn’t notice, Albert Pujols isn’t with the team. He stayed back in Kansas City to be with his wife, who had the couple’s fifth child in the wee hours of Sunday morning. “There’s no doubt Albert is where he needs to be, no doubt,” Scioscia said. “I’m speaking for myself. You can ask other people in our organization, but I’m sure we’re all on the same page with that.”
- Maicer Izturis (left ribs) swung a bat in Kansas City on Sunday, took part in pregame activities and the belief is that he’ll be available off the bench today.
- C.J. Wilson is the Angels’ nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award.
- Trout will be on the cover of the next issue of ESPN The Magazine, which hits newsstands Friday.
- Weaver enters tonight one wiin shy of matching his career-high for wins in a season (18) and reaching 100 for his career. In 13 career starts against the Rangers at Angel Stadium, he’s 8-0 with a 2.16 ERA.
The Angels meet the Rangers’ counter punch tonight, in a sense. Ryan Dempster, acquired at the final minute before Tuesday’s non-waiver Trade Deadline, takes the bump after spending his first 15 seasons in the National League (and last eight with the Cubs). Albert Pujols, coming off back-to-back multi-homer games for the first time in his career, surely is familiar — and successful. In 67 career plate appearances against Dempster, Pujols has a .327/.433/.782 slash line.
“Dempster is a veteran, he knows what he wants to do, he’s very creative with how he pitches,” his Thursday opponent, C.J. Wilson, said. “He’s a control guy, throws any pitch at any count, that kind of thing. Some of the guys in here have faced him. Albert has faced him a ton of times. Albert’s got good numbers off him, so hopefully he can do something cool against him.”
Does it make Texas’ rotation better than that of the Angels?
Rangers’ rotation now: Matt Harrison, Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Dempster and Scott Feldman, with Alexi Ogando as insurance.
Angels’ rotation: Jered Weaver, Zack Greinke, Dan Haren, Wilson and Ervin Santana, with Garrett Richards as insurance.
“They’ve been looking for help like most teams are,” Haren said. “He’s a solid pitcher. I’m sure it’ll help their club. But I think we still like where we stand. We like our chances, that’s for sure.”
On to the lineups …
Pitching: LH C.J. Wilson (9-7, 2.88 ERA)
Pitching: RH Ryan Dempster (0-0, -.– ERA)
Some pregame notes …
- Richards was optioned, with David Carpenter coming up
- Trout was named AL Player of the Month and, for the third straight time, Rookie of the Month. (Weaver, however, got beat out by Jason Vargas for Rookie of the Month.)
- Back to the pinch-running situation. Mike Scioscia revealed pregame Thursday that Kendrick was bothered by a calf injury yesterday, which is why he didn’t start. Asked if that was the reason he didn’t pinch-run him for Morales, Scioscia said, “It was part of the equation, yes. But I think when push came to shove, if we were down a run, we would’ve looked at some other things.” Vernon Wells, of course, would’ve been an option regardless. Kendrick told reporters (I wasn’t there) that his calf was actually fine.
- Still no clarity on Scott Downs (strained left shoulder). Scioscia says it’ll take a week for them to get clearer indication. They’re waiting for the swelling to go down. This could take a while.
Some Angels.com links from Wednesday …
- Angels stunned, drop heartbreaker to Rangers
- Notebook, on August plans, the Greinke extension, Trout’s ties to Rickey Henderson, injury updates, etc.
- Preview, on the CJ-Dempster matchup
Some AL West links …
- Lyle: Rangers’ resiliency on full display
- Vargas named AL Pitcher of the Month
- A’s Brandon McCarthy takes “big step” in rehab start
And Ryan Tannehill joined the first team.
Pitching: RH Garrett Richards (3-2, 3.91 ERA)
Pitching: RH Yu Darvish (11-7, 4.05 ERA)
Some pregame notes …
- It was about 106 degrees when I got to the ballpark this afternoon (yes, even hotter than yesterday). The Angels hit outside, but their pregame was limited, and Richards will probably do his pregame bullpen session inside, just like Jered Weaver did on Tuesday.
- No further clarity about Scott Downs (strained left shoulder). The medical team will be huddling up today to determine the best course of action, but surgery is not being considered. “I haven’t heard it ruled in,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “That didn’t come up.” “I think Downs feels really good at his prognosis,” Scioscia added.
- Erick Aybar (fractured right toe) took BP on the field for the first time on Wednesday and moved laterally while fielding ground balls. He’s on track to return Monday.
- Jordan Walden (neck and right biceps) backed his throwing up to about 130 feet and said it “went well,” but isn’t sure when he can throw a bullpen session. He’ll probably need to go on a rehab assignment when he’s ready.
- Dan Haren (right side) will throw a bullpen session tomorrow.