Mike Trout has achieved a lot for someone who has had only two full seasons in the Major Leagues. He’s led the league in runs twice, and led once each in stolen bases and walks while lapping his competition in terms of WAR. But on Saturday afternoon against the Tigers, Trout achieved something he had never done in 352 career games.
He struck out four times, earning the golden sombrero. Tigers starter Max Scherzer struck out Trout three times and closer Joe Nathan notched the fourth in the top of the ninth. Entering the afternoon, Trout had struck out thrice in a single game 15 times, accounting for a paltry 4.3 percent of his games played.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus isn’t going to get excited about it:
With the 0-for-4 performance, Trout lost his AL lead in OPS, sliding behind Alexei Ramirez, 1.044 to 1.019. Trout, however, still leads the league in slugging percentage, .639 to Ramirez’s .621.
What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? Just ask Javier Baez, who tracked down a sizzling 106-MPH ground ball from Jose Bautista on Friday afternoon. The defensive gem helped preserve the Cubs’ three-run lead in the top of the ninth inning, paving the way for Wade Davis‘ 25th save of the season.
Baez also impressed at the plate, collecting an RBI single in the second inning before getting tagged out at home by Miguel Montero on a convoluted 9-6-3-6-2 putout. He returned in the eighth inning to pester Tim Mayza and cleared the left field hedge with a 409-foot, two-run blast for his 20th home run of the year. With the win, the Cubs improved to 64-57 and now hold a scant 1.5-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central.
The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.