Andrelton Simmons puts the Braves on the board with bat, limits Dodger damage with glove


The Braves got on the board against Dodgers starter Zack Greinke thanks to their handy shortstop. Evan Gattis, the goat of last night’s game, reached on a single to left, then advanced to second on a ground out. With two outs, shortstop Andrelton Simmons laced a double to right field, sailing over Yasiel Puig’s head. Gattis scored easily, moving the Braves into a 1-1 tie with the Dodgers after two innings.

Simmons contributed yet again in the top of the third with a nifty 6-4-3 double play to end an impending Dodger threat. The speedy Carl Crawford had singled to lead off the inning and was attempting to reach second safely when A.J. Ellis hit a ground ball to Simmons. With very little time to spare, Simmons made a quick transfer to second baseman Elliott Johnson, who flipped the ball to first baseman Freddie Freeman to complete the double play. Via Chad Moriyama, you can see a .gif of the play by clicking here.

The game remains tied 1-1 with both starters settling down as we head into the middle innings.

Mike Trout has yet to strike out this spring

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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 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.