For the first time since 2011, Mike Trout is batting somewhere other than the leadoff spot for the Angels on Thursday. Manager Mike Scioscia has him in the two-hole against the A’s, with Alberto Callaspo at the top of the order.
The Angels are without usual No. 2 hitter, Erick Aybar, who is on the shelf with a heel injury.
Scioscia’s decision to move Trout seems less a reaction to Aybar’s injury and more born from a need to shake things up. The Angels held a team meeting after losing their third straight game last night and falling to 2-6. They’ve been outscored by the A’s 20-10 the last two days.
Trout is off to a modest .278/.333/.417 start with no homers, one RBI and 10 strikeouts in 36 at-bats. The Angels will see if sticking him in front of the red-hot Albert Pujols will do any good.
The Cubs’ defense — or lack thereof this year — has been a topic of conversation as it could help explain why the team hasn’t played at the elite level it played at last year.
Manager Joe Maddon tried to go into detail about that but ended up channeling his inner Rex Ryan. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney.
If, in the future, Joe Ross ever complains about a lack of run support, point to his first four starts of the 2017 season.
Ross started on April 19 in Atlanta against the Braves, on April 25 in Colorado against the Rockies, on April 30 at home against the Mets, and on May 23 at home against the Mariners. In those games, the Nats’ offense scored 14, 15, 23, and 10 runs respectively for a total of 62 runs, or an average of 15.5 per start. Ross was the pitcher of record for seven, eight, 10, and 10 runs for a total of 35 runs (8.75 runs per start), which would still make him the major league leader in run support by that restrictive standard.
Among qualified starters — Ross did not qualify — entering Tuesday’s action, the Rockies’ Antonio Senzatela led the way according to ESPN, averaging 7.11 runs of support in nine starts. The Rockies scored double-digit runs in only three of those starts, oddly enough.
Per the Nationals, the 62 runs of support for Ross is a major league record in a pitcher’s first four starts of a season.