The top of the Angels’ lineup Tuesday — with Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani batting 1-2 — received more attention.
But there also was focus on the bottom, where eighth-place-hitting Kole Calhoun’s offensive struggles continue to be an issue for the Angels.
Calhoun is batting .162 with 38 strikeouts and five walks. His two extra-base hits both came on opening day.
Saying “he bleeds for us,” general manager Billy Eppler explained that there’s a reason why Calhoun’s at-bats of late have been drawing more of his teammates to the railing of the dugout.
“They know how much he cares and then, in turn, they care,” Eppler said. “When he comes out of this, it will be a very good story in the support he gets from teammates. It will be a very warm story.”
Calhoun’s offensive problems have had no impact on his defense in right field. He leads baseball with six outfield assists and helped save a 2-1 victory over Houston on Monday with a stellar catch and throw that resulted in a ninth-inning double play.
An eighth-round pick in 2010, Calhoun worked his way into becoming an everyday player for the Angels four years later.
He had three seasons of consistent production before his offensive numbers dipped in 2017. To this point, 2018 has been forgettable.
“He’s had to fight for everything; everything,” Eppler said. “He’s like, ‘Here it is, I’m in another fight. I’m used to being in fights and I’m in another one. And this one is more public. This is a fight I’m going to have to fight in front of everyone.’ ”
Another Ohtani Sunday
The plan remains in place for Ohtani to make his next pitching start Sunday at home against Tampa Bay.
Manager Mike Scioscia has said the Angels eventually could shorten the time between Ohtani’s starts, their schedule now having him pitch once a week.