Trout hits 50th triple ... on a checked swing
ANAHEIM -- Angels superstar Mike Trout became the third player in club history to reach 50 career triples but it came in an unorthodox way, as he tripled on a check swing off Guardians ace Shane Bieber to lead off the sixth inning of Monday’s 3-0 win in the series opener at Angel Stadium.
Facing a 1-2 count, Bieber threw an 85.7 mph slider down and away and Trout tried to check his swing. But he made contact on the pitch and hit it past a diving Owen Miller at first base and down the right-field line. Trout, a three-time American League MVP and nine-time All-Star, showed off his elite speed, reaching third on the play easily, as right fielder Josh Naylor's throw to third was cut off.
"You have to be fast," Angels manager Joe Maddon. "It was perfectly placed. We don't normally get those things, especially big guys. So it was nice to see."
Trout became the third player in Angels history to reach 50 triples, joining Jim Fregosi (70) and Chone Figgins (53). It was the first triple of the season for Trout, who has hit four homers and three doubles and is off to yet another strong start offensively. He’s batting .326/.436/.696 and leads the American League with a 1.132 OPS.
It was the third-softest hit triple since Statcast was introduced in 2015, as it had an exit velocity of just 57.4 mph. The only triples with lower exit velocities were 49.4 mph from Bryan Reynolds on Thursday and 55.2 mph from Jake Lamb on July 18, 2017.
Trout, though, was stranded at third base despite the leadoff three-bagger, as Jared Walsh and Anthony Rendon both grounded out to second baseman Andrés Giménez. Matt Duffy walked and reached second on a wild pitch, but Jo Adell popped out to first in foul ground to end the inning.
“We didn’t score so it was a moot point,” Maddon said. “A moot triple.”