Mike Scioscia says he’s leaning toward batting Mike Trout second

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Mike Trout

The old school book was that you want your second hitter to be a bat control guy. Someone who can hit the ball the other way or bunt when need be.

The new school book is that your second hitter should probably be your best hitter. Your absolute best. That’s because, statistically speaking, he comes up in just as many high-leverage situations as your three hitter or cleanup guy, but gets more overall at bats. Not a ton of teams are doing that yet, but a couple are. And now Mike Scioscia is thinking of doing that too:

I wonder if Scioscia’s view on this is because of that new school thinking — and the clear realization that Mike Trout is his best hitter — or if it’s for some other reason. Such as, say, his desire to see Trout to cut down on strikeouts and the belief that forcing him to hit the ball the other way or (gasp!) bunt once in a while may do that.

Old Mike Scioscia Old School jokes aside, the guy has done a much better job in recent years adapting to who his personnel is and not asking them to do things they’re not comfortable doing, so I highly doubt he’s going to turn the reigning MVP into a bunter. But it will be interesting to see if Trout’s power stroke is curtailed in any way if he does bat second. Or — if Angels fans are lucky — some sweet spot is reached where the power stays big but the strikeouts go down regardless.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

albert pujols
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ST. LOUIS — Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 701st home run, connecting Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pujols launched a slider from former teammate Johan Oviedo over the Big Mac Land sign in left field at Busch Stadium. The solo drive in the fourth inning made it 1-all.

Pujols faced Oviedo for the first time and made the 24-year-old righty the 456th different pitcher he’s homered against.

The St. Louis star hadn’t homered in a week since hitting No. 699 and 700 at Dodger Stadium last Friday. Pujols had gone 10 at-bats without a home run after two starts and one pinch-hit appearance.

The Busch Stadium crowd gave the 42-year-old Pujols a long standing ovation before he came out of the Cardinals dugout to tip his cap for a curtain call.

Pujols hit his 22nd home run this season for the NL Central champion Cardinals.

Pujols is fourth on the career home run list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).