Trout passes a legend to become Rangers' all-time HR nemesis

October 3rd, 2022

ANAHEIM -- Angels superstar Mike Trout already became the all-time leader in home runs against the Mariners earlier this season, and he now has hit more homers against the Rangers than any other player, with his 44th career blast vs. Texas in an 8-3 win on Sunday.

Trout passed Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson for the most career homers against the Rangers since they moved to Texas in 1972, going 3-for-4 to help the Angels win their 2022 Angel Stadium finale. It was Trout’s team-leading 39th blast of the season, and the three-time AL MVP is just one homer away from reaching 40 for the third time in his career despite missing more than a month with a back injury suffered in mid-July.

“It feels good,” Trout said about becoming the Rangers’ most prolific nemesis. “It means you’re doing something good. They’re in the division, so we play them a lot. I didn’t know it, so that’s good to know.”

It’s been another strong year for Trout despite the injury, as he’s slashing .282/.367/.627 with 26 doubles and 79 RBIs in 116 games. His .994 OPS is right in line with his career OPS of 1.002, which leads all active players with a minimum of 500 games played. Trout’s 15 homers since Aug. 14 are also tied for the Major League lead with Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols.

Rather than lament on what might have been in a full season, Trout said he is just happy his back has healed and allowed him to be productive over the final two months of the season.

“I try not to think about it,” Trout said. “I just tried to finish the season strong when I came back. I have three games left, and it’s been going in the right direction.”

The Angels head to Oakland for a season-closing three-game series starting Monday.

Trout, who missed Saturday’s game after fouling a ball off his right foot on Friday, proved he was fine right away on Sunday as he legged out an infield single in the first inning with a sprint speed of 30 feet per second. That’s considered elite by Statcast, showing that Trout remains one of the fastest players in the game in his 12th season. That hit sparked a six-run first inning for the Angels, who saw 10 batters come to the plate.

“He looked good,” said interim manager Phil Nevin. “He probably could’ve gone last night if we were in a race, but we didn’t want to push it. He felt good today. I was a little bit worried going into today, but he came in and felt great and wasn’t limping at all. I noticed that, and that was what I was looking for. And for him to [homer] in the last game in front of the home fans was good.”

Trout singled again in the second before connecting on a solo homer in the fourth inning off right-hander Tyson Miller. That broke a tie with Jackson, who hit 43 homers against the Rangers after they moved to Arlington. The only other player with at least 40 blasts against Texas is Jose Canseco, with 40. Trout is a career .332 hitter with 92 extra-base hits and 121 RBIs in 180 games against Texas.

Trout, who is expected to play all three games in Oakland, is also close to becoming the all-time home run leader against the A’s since they moved to Oakland in 1968. Trout has 40 homers against Oakland, which trails only Rafael Palmeiro (43), Alex Rodriguez (43) and Adrián Beltré (41).

The Angels also head into the season’s final series riding a seven-game winning streak, which is their longest since April 8-14, 2018. The Angels have long been out of postseason contention, but they are finishing strong, which Trout believes is important heading into next year. Since a dismal showing in June and July that saw them go a combined 16-36, the Angels are 29-27.

“We’ve been playing good ball lately,” Trout said. “It’s nice to end the last home game with a win. Obviously, [this season] wasn’t good enough and we’re not where we want to be, but the guys have put their heads down and have tried to finish strong. We have a lot of young guys in here making an impact, and it’s good to see that.”