Remember that kid’s game, “One of These is Not Like the Other”? It was a page of objects and you had to circle which one was different.
It’s usually not that difficult. Let’s try.
One of these is not like the other. Can you spot it?
Cole Calhoun, .209
Mike Trout, .375
Justin Bour, .080
Albert Pujols, .240
Jonathan Lucroy, .240
Tommy LaStella, .143
Zack Cosart, .038
Brian Goodwin, .313
If you circled Mike Trout, congratulations, you won. Also, if you circled Mike Trout, commiserations, you just ruined your computer screen.
Look at that lineup. It has to be one of the most ineffectual lineups in major league baseball. Remember the old Yankees team that was dubbed Murderer’s Row? This Angels lineup is the Choir Boys Helping Old Ladies Cross The Street Row.
Other than Mike Trout, there isn’t an run to be found.
Which begs the question: why would anyone every throw a pitch that is within a two county vicinity of Mike Trout?
Back in 2016, Bryce Harper, fresh off his one good season, his MVP year of 2015, and his Washington Nationals were coming into Wrigley for a four-game series in early May. Joe Maddon had a plan. He decided to walk Bryce Harper as often as he could.
In the first three games of the series, Harper went to the plate twelve times. Over all, he was 1-for-4 with seven walks, one of which was intentionally intentional. The hit him once as well. He had one RBI, from a sac fly.
Game Four of the series went thirteen innings. That meant Harper would come to the plate seven times. He was walked six of those. They hit him with a pitch the other time.
“You know how good he is. Why tempt fate?” is what Joe Maddon said. The Cubs swept the four-gamer. They also won the World Series for the first time in over a thousand years that season as well.
Harper went into that series batting .266. From that point on, he went into a major slump, ending the season batting .243. Maddon’s plan worked.
Cut to yesterday. Of course, Harper is no Mike Trout. But, still. The Rangers decided to pitch to Mike Trout.
He hit two over the wall. That’s all the Angels needed in their 3-1 victory over Texas. Because all the Rangers could muster was one over the wall.
In a game that has devolved into a home run derby, the team that has the most Mike Trouts wins. The Angels have one. The Rangers, zero.
So, today’s lesson: Don’t pitch to Mike Trout.Don’t pitch to Mike Trout. Especially when the next five batters look like this:
Let one of the other’s beat you. Which, by the way, the Angels came into the game 1-6. So, none of those other guys were beating anyone.
Drew Smyly (0-0, 3.00) vs. Tyler Skaggs (0-1, 3.86)
Game time: 3:05