The Angels dropped a fourth straight game to the White Sox on Thursday afternoon and fell six games back of the Rangers in the American League West. Halos center fielder Torii Hunter, for one, is not happy about it.
Hunter told ESPN Los Angeles’ Mark Saxon that he thinks some of his teammates might be loafing it in anticipation of the much-need All-Star break.
“We might have some guys looking at the standings and seeing the
three games off for the All-Star break and kind of getting a little
loose, relaxed, don’t really want to do much,” Hunter said. “You can see it. Hopefully it’s not that. Every game, you’ve got to come out 100 percent ready and ready to play hard.
Hunter may be correct, but it can be awfully hard for a team to win baseball games when guys like Kevin Frandsen, Reggie Willits and Paul McAnulty are seeing regular playing time. Losing Kendry Morales was a major blow to the Angels’ chances this season and Bobby Abreu and Hideki Matsui have simply looked old.
The 34-year-old Hunter is at least doing his part. Named to his fourth All-Star game last weekend, he is batting .301/.383/.520 with 14 home runs and 60 RBI through 302 at-bats.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.