The numbers are startling and not at all commensurate with a player of Mike Trout’s stature.
Trout, the Angels center fielder and 2014 American League most valuable player, was hitless in three at-bats Wednesday night. There was no shame in that, as Detroit right-hander Justin Verlander came within three outs of a no-hitter in a 5-0 win over the Angels.
But Verlander isn’t the only pitcher who has stifled Trout lately.
In 24 games this month, Trout is batting .200 (17 for 85) with one homer and six runs batted in. He has a .327 on-base percentage, .306 slugging percentage, 28 strikeouts and 16 walks.
Even more shocking is that Trout’s worst month in his four-year career has come on the heels of one of his best, a torrid July in which he compiled a .367/.462/.861 slash line with 12 homers and 24 RBIs in 21 games.
“I looked at some video again [Tuesday] night, and the last few weeks, my front side is flying open, my swing has been getting a little long, and I’m trying to do a little too much,” Trout said. “You can’t hit when your front side goes.”
Trout’s slump coincided with the left-wrist injury he suffered while diving for a fly ball against Texas on July 26, but Trout swears there is no correlation between his struggles and the injury, which sidelined him for two games.
In fact, Trout had three hits, including a homer, against the Dodgers in his second game back on July 31, and he has hit several rockets this month.
“The wrist,” Trout said, “is fine.”
But Trout is not, a major concern for a team that is trying to remain in playoff contention. The Angels have lost 22 of 32 games to fall six games behind Houston in the American League West and one game out of the second wild-card spot.
“Our whole team has struggled through August — I don’t think it rests on one guy’s shoulders,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “Mike is still having good at-bats. He’ll be there for us. Sometimes you’re not going to be as locked in as you are at other times. But there’s no deeper layer to this.”
Trout’s overall numbers are still strong: a .295/.392/.570 slash line with 33 homers, 73 RBIs and 81 runs, and he said he felt “really good” at the plate Wednesday.
“It’s just my timing, getting my front foot down,” Trout said. “Some days I feel good, some games I don’t. I’m going through a little skid, but I’m staying positive.”
Angels starter Hector Santiago was roughed up for five runs and seven hits in 41/3 innings Wednesday night, giving up a solo homer to Nick Castellanos in the second and two-run homers to Miguel Cabrera and J.D. Martinez in the fifth. He has a 5.23 ERA since the All-Star break. … The Angels are 9-15 in August, assuring them of their first sub-.500 month since July 2013. … Right-hander Drew Rucinski was sent to triple A after the game to clear room for Matt Shoemaker, who will start Thursday.