MLB: Behind surging Mike Trout, Angels take on Royals
The Los Angeles Angels will begin a three-game series against the visiting Kansas City Royals on Monday night in Anaheim, Calif., with center fielder Mike Trout settling into the month of June in typical Trout fashion.
June has been Trout’s best month during his career in batting average and OPS — he has hit .339 with a 1.053 OPS, compared with his overall career batting average of .304 and OPS of 1.004.
A little more than midway through the month, Trout is at it again despite missing three games recently with a strained groin. He enters the series against the Royals with five home runs in his last five games.
That includes a homer in Sunday’s 4-0 win over the Seattle Mariners, his 21st of the season.
Through 69 games, Trout is on pace to hit 49 home runs, which would be a career high and an Angels’ record. Trout hit 45 homers in 2019, ranking third on the team’s all-time single-season list behind Troy Glaus (47 in 2000) and Shohei Ohtani (46 last season).
Trout is hitting just .255 this month, but his OPS is 1.076.
“It’s incredible — guys keep pitching to him, and it’s hilarious,” Angels reliever Jimmy Herget said. “He’s the best player on the planet — or one of the best players on the planet. We have another one (Ohtani) here, too.”
Royals center fielder Michael A. Taylor also is having a resurgent June, hitting .348 after going 0-for-3 in Sunday’s 4-0 loss to the Oakland A’s.
Overall, Taylor is having a much-improved season at the plate — he’s hitting .272 with a .355 on-base percentage and .401 slugging percentage compared with career averages of .241/.297/.388.
Taylor’s improvement has much to do with his decreasing strikeout rate. His career rate is 29.9 percent, but this season it’s 22.5.
“The goal was to make more contact,” Taylor said. “I felt like I’d miss a lot of pitches, I’d foul a lot of balls off and put myself in a bad situation with two strikes, then I’m just battling from there. And that would lead to way more strikeouts than I wanted.”
Right-hander Noah Syndergaard (4-5, 3.53 ERA) will be on the mound for the Angels on Monday to make his 11th start of the season. He has lost his last three starts but hasn’t pitched badly.
He gave up five runs in 2 1/3 innings in a loss to the Yankees on May 31 but allowed just one run in six innings to Boston on June 6 and one run in 4 2/3 innings to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday.
Syndergaard is 2-1 with a 2.50 ERA in three career starts against the Royals.
Left-hander Kris Bubic (0-4, 8.36) will make his ninth start of the year for Kansas City. He has faced the Angels once, getting tagged for the loss in a game last season when he gave up six runs in four innings.
–Field Level Media