The Angels have dropped five straight games and currently sit in last place in the American League West with a 6-14 record, so they are hoping the newly-promoted Mike Trout can provide a much-needed spark for their lineup.
According to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com, Trout will bat leadoff and play left field this afternoon against the Indians. Peter Bourjos will make the start in center field while Vernon Wells is out of the lineup. The Angels didn’t call up Trout to sit on the bench, so his playing time figures to come at the expense of either Wells or Bourjos on most days. Mark Trumbo will make the start at third base this afternoon.
The comparisons to Nationals’ outfielder Bryce Harper are only natural and hopefully they’ll continue for the next 15-20 years, but Trout is probably the better bet to succeed in 2012. The 20-year-old already had 135 plate appearances in the majors last year and while Harper was merely holding his own against Triple-A pitching prior to his promotion, Trout was hitting .403/.467/.623 with ten extra-base hits (one homer), 13 RBI, six stolen bases and a 1.091 OPS with Salt Lake.
The Red Sox have clinched the AL East for a third consecutive season, beating the Yankees 11-6 in the Bronx on Thursday night. It’s the third consecutive season in which the Red Sox have won the division, the first time that’s ever been done in club history. In fact, the only other times the Red Sox won the division in back-to-back years were 1903-04 and 1915-16.
AL MVP candidate Mookie Betts went 4-for-5 with a two-run single in the second inning off of Masahiro Tanaka and a three-run homer in the eighth against Aroldis Chapman to put the game out of reach. Jackie Bradley and Brock Holt also hit homers. Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez was on the hook for five runs in 3 2/3 innings, but three of them scored when Heath Hembree inherited a bases-loaded situation, then served up a grand slam to Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth. The rest of the bullpen combined to fire five scoreless innings. Steven Wright had three of them followed by zeroes from Ryan Brasier and Craig Kimbrel.
With the loss, the Yankees’ lead over the Athletics for the first Wild Card slot shrinks to 1.5 games. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will try to clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs. With a 104-49 record, their closest competitor is the 95-57 Astros. With nine games remaining in the regular season for the Red Sox, they would have to lose every game remaining in the regular season and the Astros would have to win their 10 remaining games in order to fail to claim home field advantage.