OAKLAND -- Kole Calhoun profiled more so as a middle-of-the-order bat, but the Angels' lack of on-base ability and Calhoun's versatility vaulted him to the top of their lineup, directly in front of Mike Trout for the vast majority of his first two full seasons in the Major Leagues.The Angels
OAKLAND -- Kole Calhoun profiled more so as a middle-of-the-order bat, but the Angels' lack of on-base ability and Calhoun's versatility vaulted him to the top of their lineup, directly in front of Mike Trout for the vast majority of his first two full seasons in the Major Leagues.
The Angels don't believe that is necessary now, though. They see Yunel Escobar and Daniel Nava -- or Craig Gentry, when a lefty starts -- as legitimate on-base threats that can feed Trout ample RBI opportunities. And because of that, they're able to take advantage of Calhoun's ability to drive in runs.
It showed up in Wednesday's 5-1 victory over the A's.
Calhoun came through with a pair of two-out RBI singles to left-center field in the third and fifth innings, accounting for the Angels' first two runs. In the eighth, he smoked a ball down the left-field line for a double and later scored on Andrelton Simmons' single.
Calhoun entered the series finale having driven in just one run, but it wasn't his doing.
The 28-year-old right fielder was a victim of an offense that was slow out of the gate, one that entered the week with the Majors' second-lowest OPS. His three hits put his batting average at .387, and because Trout and Albert Pujols were on base a combined five times on Wednesday, the RBIs started to show up.
"It's huge," Trout said of Calhoun's early season production. "It's the reason why we've won the last few games."
Calhoun's 2015 season saw him trade some strikeouts in favor of more home runs. He's only listed at 5-foot-10, but he slugged .545 in his Minor League career and has a .435 SLG over the last two years, 40 points above the Major League average. The middle of the order has always been the more natural fit.
"I thought at some point maybe it would happen," Calhoun said. "But I never really thought about it, to be honest with you. Just go out and play. I never wrote my own lineup, so it kind of is what it is. There's a lot of spots in the order that are fun to hit, and right now, hitting in the middle of the order is a blast."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and Facebook , and listen to his podcast.