A’s hit five homers, lose to Rangers anyway

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Rangers setup man Mike Adams had allowed one homer in 51 2/3 innings this season until suddenly giving up three to the five A’s hitters he faced today.

Fortunately for Adams, the Rangers had a 9-4 cushion when he entered and they went on to win 9-7 to split a four-game series with the A’s.

Texas jumped out to a 5-0 lead in a first inning that featured homers from Ian Kinsler and Mike Napoli and then withstood Oakland’s change. Josh Reddick homered twice for the A’s, and Derek Norris, Yoenis Cespedes and Brandon Moss homered once apiece.

For Moss, it was his 20th homer in 246 at-bats this season. He’s gotten increased playing time of late, so he won’t become the seventh player in big-league history to finish a season with 20 homers and fewer than 250 at-bats. However, he will be the 30th player to have done it in less than 300 at-bats.

With Moss joining Reddick and Cespedes, the A’s now have three 20-homer guys, matching their total from the previous four seasons combines. They went without a 20-homer guy in 2010, and they had just one player get there in 2008 (Jack Cust), 2009 (Cust) and 2011 (Josh Willingham).

Mike Trout has been really good at baseball lately

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“Water wet,” “Sky blue,” “Dog bites man” and “Mike Trout good” are not exactly newsworthy sentiments, but once in a while you have to state the obvious just so you can look back later and make sure you were, in the moment, aware of the obvious.

And to be fair, “Mike Trout good” is underselling the Angels outfielder lately. He’s on the greatest tear of his great career lately, and dang it, that’s worthy of a few words on this blog.

Last night Trout went a mere 1-for-1, but that’s because the Diamondbacks were smart enough not to pitch to him too much, walking him twice. There was no one on base the first time he came up and he got a free pass. There was a guy on first but two outs the second time, so he was once again not given much to hit and took his base again. Arizona was not so lucky the third time. The bases were loaded and there was nowhere to put Trout. He smacked the first pitch he saw for a two-run single. They probably shoulda just walked him anyway, limiting the damage to one. The last time up he reached on catcher’s interference. Maybe Arizona figured that literally grabbing the bat from him with a catcher’s mitt was the best bet?

If so you can’t blame them, really. Not with the month he’s had. In June, Trout is hitting .448/.554/.776 with five homers. He currently leads the league in the following categories: home runs (23), runs (60), walks (64), on-base percentage (.469), OPS (1.158) OPS+ (219), total bases (179) and intentional walks (9). He currently has a bWAR of 6.5. WAR, in case you did not know, is a cumulative stat. When he won the 2014 MVP Award, he “only” had 7.6 for the entire year.

Sadly, one man does not a team make, so the Angels are only 9-8 in the month of June and have fallen far back of the red-hot Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners in the division race. For this reason I suspect a lot of people are going to do what they’ve long done and overlook Mike Trout’s sheer dominance or, even more ridiculously, claim he is overrated or something (believe me, I’ve seen it even this month).

Feel free to ignore those people and concentrate instead on the greatest baseball player in the game today, who has somehow managed to up his game in recent weeks.