Adell had been scuffling recently, going 1-for-13 over his past four games, and Trout told him to try to be a bit more aggressive on fastballs. Adell took it to heart, and it immediately paid dividends, as he crushed a go-ahead grand slam in the ninth inning on a 97.1 mph fastball from All-Star reliever Gregory Soto to send the Angels to an 8-2 win over the Tigers in the series opener on Tuesday night at Comerica Park.
"He pulled me aside and told me I've been having really good at-bats and spitting on the pitches I can't handle but to stay on the fastball," Adell said. "Never forget these guys have good fastballs, so stay on them, and don't give up on them too early. Having that mindset today just helped me let loose. Something was in the zone hard, and I was ready to attack."
It was the first homer of the year for Adell, and it was a no-doubter, as it left the bat at 111.9 mph and went a Statcast-projected 416 feet beyond the bullpens in left field. He knew it was gone, as he excitedly threw his bat down with his left hand and celebrated while looking into the Angels' dugout. And, of course, the first person Adell noticed after the homer was Trout at the top step cheering on his teammate.
"It was electric,” Adell said. “I mean, I can't even describe it. I kind of blacked out. When I hit it, I just turned and Trout was at the stairwell at the dugout. So I just looked over and just went crazy. The whole experience was great."
Adell’s power is legit -- he smacked 23 homers in 73 games at Triple-A this season and puts on a show during batting practice -- although it hasn't quite translated to the Majors just yet. But in a pivotal moment, Adell displayed what he is capable of, connecting on his first big league grand slam.
Angels manager Joe Maddon said it’s the kind of game-changing power that Adell has, and that he’s seen him grow this year after a tough rookie year in 2020.
“He’s got power, we see it in batting practice every day,” Maddon said. “It’s just a matter of time to get prepared for pitches in-game. But I love his mechanics in the box, and he shows patience. He’s not just up there swinging. He was looking for something to drive and didn’t miss it. He had done that all summer at Salt Lake, and now give him credit, he came up in a big moment.”
Kurt Suzuki also followed with a solo homer of his own to give the Angels an insurance run.
It helped make up for Brandon Marsh missing his first career homer by inches in the seventh inning, as the umpires ruled a fan interfered with his deep drive to right-center and he was awarded a ground-rule double. He ended up getting stranded that inning with Jack Mayfield striking out.
“I knew it was fan interference, but I couldn’t believe they didn’t award Marsh third base,” Maddon said. “It would’ve been literally impossible to have thrown him out at third base.”
But Adell, 22, came to the rescue with his fourth homer in 52 career games dating back to last year's shortened season. And he believes it can help his confidence going forward, as he continues to develop, which is key for an Angels club that will rely on young players such as Marsh and Adell down the stretch, along with a young rotation that includes Reid Detmers, Patrick Sandoval, Jaime Barria and José Suarez.
“I think a situation like that definitely adds fuel to the fire,” Adell said. “When you come out on top, it makes you want to keep pushing forward. I have fast hands and can catch up to tough fastballs. I think it’s something I’ve learned in the Minor Leagues and showed it tonight. I don’t care if it’s 100 mph. I have fast enough hands to get to it, and I plan to keep doing it. That was exciting as it gets. That’ll fire you up for a while.”