Mike Trout has driven in 47 runs in 69 games, on a pace to drive in 110, 20 more than last season. Angels Manager Mike Scioscia believes that to be a direct result of Yunel Escobar's hitting atop their lineup.
After reaching base twice Sunday, Escobar is hitting .313 with a .364 on-base percentage, far better than the Angels' options ahead of Trout in 2015.
"He's been a terrific table-setter for us," Scioscia said. "If you look at Mike Trout's RBI opportunities, they've increased twofold from where he was last year. The big reason is if you look at how often Yunel and Kole [Calhoun] are getting on base, it's feeding the middle of our lineup. That's what sparks us."
Scioscia said Escobar's defense is improving, in his estimation, as 2015 was his first season at third base. The 33-year-old has made a bevy of throwing errors, but not in recent days, and made a successful stab at a ball Saturday.
"He's still a young third baseman, growing into that position," Scioscia said. "It sounds kind of funny because he's a veteran, but he was thrown into third base at the end of spring training last year. He's doing things more comfortably since coming over here."
Shane Robinson started again in left field Sunday over Jefry Marte because of the difficult conditions the Oakland Coliseum presents in the outfield. Scioscia said the sun, the wind and the additional foul territory made him reticent to start Marte at the position for the third time in his career. His first two starts there came last week against Minnesota. Instead, Marte started at first base, meaning C.J. Cron sat out one day after notching three hits. … Shortstop Andrelton Simmons saved Cron's misguided pursuit of a foul ball Saturday by swooping in to secure it. "He came in a little hot," Scioscia said on Cron. "And heavy." … Left-hander Hector Santiago wore cleats bearing the image of his father's face during pregame warmups. Per MLB rules, Santiago had to take off the cleats for the game, although both teams wore jerseys with blue lettering for Father's Day.