Mike Scioscia was faced with a question that seemed obvious: Do you almost take it for granted that Mike Trout is going to be in the All-Star game?
“Last year he wasn’t,” Scioscia answered.
Despite being voted into the starting lineup for the sixth time and making the squad for the seventh, Trout injured his thumb on a head-first slide and missed last year’s festivities.
Trout had been a constant at the All-Star game, and he’s headed back after Sunday’s announcement that he was voted a starter once again. The bigger surprise for the Angels was shortstop Andrelton Simmons being one of five candidates for the final spot on the American League team.
Simmons entered Sunday tied with Trout for the team lead with a .312 batting average. Fans can vote at MLB.com until Wednesday at 1 p.m. PDT.
“Being voted in by the fans is a big deal,” Trout said. “Now we need to get [Simmons] in.”
Trout never has had trouble getting into the All-Star game because his first-half numbers have tended to be better than his second-half numbers.
Last season, for example, he hit .337 before the All-Star break and .285 after. It was the same story in 2016 (.322 vs. .305), 2015 (.312 vs. 283) and 2014 (.310 vs. .257).
Trout already has 25 home runs, tied for second most in the AL and his seventh straight season with at least that many.
“I don’t think you can take anything for granted in this game, but if there’s a guy who’s been more consistent than Mike over the course of their career, I don’t know who that would be,” Scioscia said. “He’s been sensational, and he’s having another terrific year.”
Trout entered Sunday with a league-leading .455 on-base percentage. He also led the league in Wins Above Replacement (6.8) and walks (78).
“The All-Star break kind of snuck up on me,” he said. “I’m doing OK, feeling good, but I didn’t even know we were a week away from the All-Star break until, well, now.”
His defense also has been steady, which was expected. He’s won three Gold Gloves in his career.
“His defense makes my job easy in center field,” Trout said. “On balls up the middle, I don’t really have to go for them anymore. He’s catching everything, and obviously his bat this year has been great.”
Tropeano back soon?
Nick Tropeano, sidelined almost a month with a shoulder injury, could be back in the rotation soon. The right-hander threw a game with class-A Inland Empire on Saturday night and struck out four in five scoreless innings.
“The numbers looked terrific,” Scioscia said. “We’ll get an evaluation on Nick and see what the next step might be.”
“I just wanna see how I bounce back these next two or three days between this bullpen, and obviously it’s not my call,” he said, “but I feel like I’ll be ready to go.”
Ohtani sits, then strikes
After fouling a pitch off his knee Saturday, Shohei Ohtani was out of the lineup Sunday against Dodgers left-hander Alex Wood. Ohtani’s splits against lefties aren’t favorable, so Scioscia went with Albert Pujols as his designated hitter and started Jefry Marte at first base.
He said the decision wasn’t impacted by Ohtani’s injury, but when asked if Ohtani was available as a pinch-hitter, he said “We’re still evaluating that.”
Well, Ohtani delivered the Angels’ first pinch-hit home run of the season in the seventh inning, a tiebreaking solo shot off right-hander J.T. Chargois.