Trout a one-man Statcast show in LA nail-biter
LOS ANGELES -- Mike Trout showed yet again why he’s regarded as the best all-around player in baseball, as he was a one-man Statcast show with an incredible throw home to get Max Muncy at the plate in the second inning and a solo homer in the fifth in a 5-4 win over the Dodgers on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.
Trout, playing opposite National League MVP candidate Cody Bellinger, added to his American League-leading home run total with his 33rd of the year, which puts him one behind Bellinger and two behind the Brewers’ Christian Yelich for the Major League lead.
"I think that was probably one of the better games, emotionally, with the crowd being in it all night," Trout said. "Big win for us."
It was Trout’s defense that was on display in the second.
With the Angels up, 1-0, and Muncy on second base, Corey Seager singled to center field and Muncy raced for home to try to tie the game. But Trout uncorked an impressive 98.6-mph throw that went 261 feet to get Muncy just in time at the plate. The Dodgers challenged the play but the call stood, giving Trout his fourth outfield assist of the season.
"Unbelievable," said right fielder Kole Calhoun, whose outfield assist ended the game in the ninth. "That pumped me up. I didn’t think he had a shot. But he was able to get behind it, and it was 98.6 [mph]. He came quick and let me know about that. I remember a few years ago he threw a guy out here and it was 93, and that’s’ five more mph. If there was one knock on him when he first came up, it might have been his arm, but you can’t say that now.”
Trout’s arm has been regarded as his weakest tool, but he’s worked hard in recent years to improve. It shows in the data, as his rope to nail Muncy is tied for the third-hardest-thrown outfield assist this season, and it is Trout's hardest tracked throw since Statcast was introduced in 2015. It was something Trout was proud of after the game.
“Obviously, it's definitely my hardest,” Trout said. “I worked hard on getting my arm strength up, and it shows on the field. I'm going to let some of my buddies know [about 98.6 mph]. Garrett Richards, he's going to know about it. You know, [the late Tyler] Skaggs would've given me a hard time about it, too. Just going to have fun with it.”
Trout showed off his all-around talents again in the fifth, absolutely crushing a 1-2 slider from right-hander Kenta Maeda with one out. The solo shot left Trout’s bat at 111 mph and went a Statcast-projected 454 feet into the loge level in left field. Trout is only the second Angels player to hit 11 homers in a 13-game span, joining Doug DeCinces, who hit 12 homers in a 13-game stretch in 1982, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
It was Trout’s second homer of 454 feet since Skaggs' death, which reminds the Angels of his No. 45. The Dodgers also raised $40,135 for Skaggs’ foundation with their 50/50 raffle Tuesday night.
“I thought pretty cool that it was 454 again, for Tyler," Trout said. "A lot of guys said that as soon as I hit it. He's still watching over us. We're playing for him."
It was Trout's fifth blast of at least 450 feet, which ties him for the Major League lead with Pittsburgh’s Josh Bell. Trout had a total of four homers of 450-plus feet from 2015-18.
He also leads the Majors with 14 homers with an exit velocity of at least 110 mph, just ahead of the Mets' Pete Alonso (13) and the Yankees' Gary Sanchez (13).
Trout, who was an All-Star for the eighth time this year, is aiming for his third AL MVP Award. He is hitting .298/.445/.666 with 80 RBIs, 78 runs scored, 80 walks and eight stolen bases in 95 games. In addition to the 33 homers, Trout leads the AL in extra-base hits, walks, RBIs, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
Trout, who is on pace to hit 52 blasts, hit 36 homers when he won his first MVP Award in 2014, and he hit 29 when he won his second in '16. He's topped 40 homers once, when he hit 41 in ‘15 and was runner-up for AL MVP.
“I guess we all kind of expect it from him at this point," Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. "He’s the most talented hitter on the planet. And no offense to Cody Bellinger, who is also very talented.”