Angels’ Mike Trout marvels at Miguel Cabrera reaching 3,000 hits: ‘It’s incredible’
Mike Trout is in his 11th full big league season. He has won three American League most-valuable-player awards, eight Silver Slugger awards and made nine All-Star teams, and he’s not even halfway to the milestone Miguel Cabrera reached Saturday, when the Detroit Tigers slugger notched his 3,000th career hit.
“Three thousand … man, that’s a lot of hits,” said Trout, who entered the Angels’ game Saturday night against the Baltimore Orioles with 1,428 career hits. “I mean, you’ve got to put up a lot of numbers, year in and year out. It’s incredible.”
That Cabrera lined a hard single to right-center field against the Colorado Rockies for his 3,000th hit seemed fitting to Trout.
“When I first came up, I tried to, you know, [emulate] the swing, the power to right-center. There was no one better than him at that,” Trout said. “Every time we face him, he usually got two or three hits, so it’s just fun to watch at the plate.”
Trout’s career is clearly on a Hall of Fame trajectory, but the Angels center fielder would still have to average 175 hits a year for another nine seasons to reach the 3,000-hit mark, which puts in perspective how difficult the milestone is to achieve. Cabrera is the 33rd member of the 3,000-hit club.
Detroit Tigers star Miguel Cabrera picked up the 3,000th hit of his career, becoming the 33rd major leaguer and first player from Venezuela to do so.
Cabrera, 39, is in his 20th big league season. Has Trout, 30, done the math on what it would take for him to reach 3,000 hits?
“Nah,” he said.
Trout was also limited to 114 games in 2017 because of a torn ligament in his left thumb, 53 games in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and 36 games in 2021 because of a right calf strain, all of which cut into his hit totals.
“It’s freak stuff, so no, I don’t really think about that,” Trout said. “I can only control what’s in front of me, so I’ve got to go out there and play.”
Angels manager Joe Maddon said Cabrera’s milestone is a testament not only to his longevity but for his excellence over such a long period.
“He’s one of the best clutch hitters I’ve worked against,” said Maddon, a former Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago Cubs manager. “I walked him three times intentionally with runners on first and second and two outs in one series. … He would hit the ball to right field to drive in the run. He knew how to drive it in.”
Cabrera also entered Saturday with 502 career homers, 599 doubles and 1,807 RBIs, but there is one obscure number that Trout found just as impressive.
“The craziest stat of all is he has one base-hit bunt single,” Trout said. “I’ve never seen Miggy bunt.”
The Angels’ failure to turn two double plays during a critical juncture in the sixth inning proves costly in a 5-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.
Shohei Ohtani started his 15th consecutive game in the leadoff spot Saturday night, much to the chagrin of fans and followers of the team who believe the reigning AL MVP, who batted .257 with a .965 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, 46 homers and 100 RBIs in 2021, is more suited for the second or third spot.
But Maddon has no immediate plans to change the top of his order, which features Trout batting second, Anthony Rendon hitting third and Jared Walsh batting cleanup against right-handed pitchers.
“Unless you have a .370 to .400 on-base-percentage guy, someone who’s getting on all the time and creating havoc, why not put the defending MVP in that spot?” Maddon said. “No. 1, he comes up more often. And No. 2, the whole lineup is going to protect him.
“Shohei is going to hit his home runs. He’s going to drive in his runs. He’s going to score runs. Among all of our guys, you like to see Mike and Anthony up there a lot, but the one guy you want to see up there all the time is Shohei.”
The city of Anaheim and the state housing agency have reached a settlement, opening the door for the Angel Stadium land sale to be finalized.
David Fletcher spent most of 2019, when he had a .350 on-base percentage, and 2020, when he had a .376 OBP, in the leadoff spot, but he struggled to start 2021, was dropped to the bottom of the order in May, and finished with a .297 OBP.
The infielder remains on the injured list because of a left hip strain and is on a minor league rehabilitation stint with triple-A Salt Lake.
Speedy middle infielder Tyler Wade entered Saturday night’s game with a .321 batting average and .367 OBP, but when asked whether Wade was emerging as a potential leadoff man, Maddon said, “No, not yet.”
Has he seen anyone emerge as a leadoff candidate?
“I really haven’t,” Maddon said. “Again, what is the leadoff hitter anymore? You know, Rickey Henderson is not here, Lou Brock is not here. Those are my two favorites. Those guys were on base with power. If you had a pure .370 to .400 OBP guy, then you could possibly supplant [Ohtani].”
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