After dropping the first game of the midweek series, the Minnesota Twins reminded the Detroit Tigers why they are the team everyone picked to win the division this season, winning 5-1.
Even with Joe Mauer taking the day off, the Twins brought plenty of firepower to bear, with Justin Morneau hitting a solo homer and an RBI double. Some of the other guys chipped in too, getting all bunty and small-bally in the fifth. See: they were so confident that they freely gave up outs just to show the Tigers how awesome they were! Kevin Slowey gave up one run on four hits in six innings. He had to leave early, though, after being smacked in the ankle with a comebacker.
The Twins now sit one and a half games in front on the Central. It’s probably worth noting that they are the only team in the division with a positive run differential as well (+52 to the Tigers’ -4).
Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.
But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.
To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to MLB.com. 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).
According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.