Evan Gattis was the Braves’ only source of offense this afternoon against Cole Hamels in the series finale in Philadelphia. The Braves scored two runs on two hits, both Gattis solo home runs — one in the second inning, and one in the seventh, giving him 18 on the season. The Phillies scored twice in the first inning against Braves starter Paul Maholm on an RBI double by Chase Utley and an RBI single by Darin Ruf.
After Hamels tossed a scoreless eighth inning, running his pitch count to 99, Darin Ruf cracked a tie-breaking solo home run to right field against Braves reliever David Carpenter. B.J. Rosenberg was called on in the ninth to lock down the save, and he retired the Braves in short order for his first career save. The Phillies complete a sweep for the first time since June 3-5 against the Marlins. The Braves were last swept August 22-24 against the Cardinals.
The first home run by Gattis, which landed in the concourse area in left-center at Citizens Bank Park, was measured at 486 feet, the longest of the season according to ESPN Stats & Info. Logan Morrison hit one to right-center at Marlins Park on Friday that measured at 484 feet.
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.