Angels’ Mike Trout impresses Orioles’ Buck Showalter
BALTIMORE -- Buck Showalter hasn’t seen much of Mike Trout, given that the highly touted Angels outfielder has played only two games against the Baltimore Orioles this season. But Wednesday, after watching Trout match a career high with four hits, score three runs and soar well above the center-field wall to take a first-inning home run away from J.J. Hardy, the Baltimore manager had seen enough to be impressed.
“There’s nothing not to like about Trout,” he said. “He’s a very physical baseball player. You see him and you go, ‘Good God.’ I don’t think effort’s ever going to go into a slump.”
Although Trout wasn’t recalled by the Angels until April 28, he leads the American League with a .344 batting average and 21 stolen bases. And he leads the team with 47 runs in 53 games.
He so unnerved the Orioles on Wednesday that they didn’t even try to throw him out on a ball he nubbed 20 feet in front of the plate for a run-scoring single. Yet, his first-inning catch in center field may have been the most impressive thing he did in the game.
“Trout’s special,” Showalter said. “The thing about him is, he could hit first, second, third or fourth. And he’s going to turn hits into outs [in center field], which is huge up the middle of the diamond.
“He’s going to impact a game in all the phases. Those are hard to find.”
Big test for Dan Haren
June has not been especially kind to right-hander Dan Haren, who has given up 16 runs and 34 hits in 212/3 innings. And given his traditional second-half fade — his career earned-run average after the All-Star break is three-quarters of a run higher than in the first half — Thursday’s start in Toronto is looming large for Haren and the Angels.
“There have been some issues that he’s tried to pitch through,” Manager Mike Scioscia said of Haren, who acknowledged he had been bothered by a sore back. “As far as how he feels physically, he feels much better than he did probably four or five starts ago. Dan’s a guy that we need.”
But even Scioscia says the problems may go deeper than just a sore back. Haren’s fastball velocity is down nearly 2 mph from two years ago, he’s giving up home runs more frequently than in all but one previous season, his walks per nine innings is nearly double what it was last season and right-handers are hitting .341 against him, 99 points higher than left-handers.
“They’re not like what you would expect to see from Dan,” Scioscia said of the statistics. “But there’s definitely some tangible issues that explain some of that. He knows the ball’s been elevated at times. His split has been a little inconsistent and when you’re getting behind in counts and relying on a cutter to get back into counts all the time, it doesn’t take long for the league to figure that out.”
Catcher Chris Iannetta, who went on the disabled list May 10 because of a fractured wrist, had his comeback slowed a second time by a right forearm issue. Iannetta was ready to start a rehab assignment this month before being shut down and undergoing tests on his arm last week. Scioscia is hopeful Iannetta will be able to resume throwing this weekend in Toronto. ... Wednesday’s win was the 13th in 14 road games for the Angels, dating to May 22. The team last accomplished that in 1995.
Go beyond the scoreboard
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