ANAHEIM (News4usonline) – Mike Trout had only one hit in his four at-bats against the Los Angeles Angels in the second game of the Freeway Series played between the Los Angeles Dodgers and their Orange County neighbors. That one hit that Trout delivered came in the bottom of the first inning with a runner on base.
Trout got all of it and blasted a two-run home run off of Noah Syndergaard to give the Angels a quick 2-0 lead. The Angels would go on to beat the Dodgers, 5-4, at Angel Stadium. But the bigger story was Trout.
The three-time American League MVP, on the pitch that he smashed off of Syndergaard, looked very much like the deep ball threat he has been throughout his career.
Coming off the World Baseball Classic, this is a big season for the Angels and for Trout. The Angels, with a healthy Trout and Shohei Ohtani, could do big things during the regular season. The Angels have been impressive with the second-best record in spring training, just behind the Kansas City Royals in the won-lost margins.
But no one won’t be counting those games once the regular season starts. What will count is the team’s mental approach and how they perform during the regular season. And the Angels will count heavily on Trout doing what he has been doing in the past which has landed him multiple MVPs.
In 2022, Trout bopped 40 home runs. He managed to hit that many dingers in just 119 games. The nine-time Silver Slugger winner missed time last season dealing with rib cartilage inflammation. Hopefully, that malady is behind him. If so, Trout will likely be competing with Ohtani for the MVP award.
Last season was sort of a rebound year for Trout, who managed to collect 124 hits and score 85 runs and drive 80 RBI. A healthy Trout translates into a lot more. In 2021, Trout was anything but himself, having played in only 36 regular season games due to a calf injury.
So far, Trout hasn’t played much during spring training, mostly because he’s coming off playing for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. Trout batted .296 and drove in seven runs while leading Team USA to the championship game where they eventually fell to Ohtani and Japan.
The focus now for Trout shifts to trying to lead the Angels to the postseason, something the team has not done in the past eight seasons. The last time the Angels made the playoffs was after the 2014 regular season.
The expectancy for the ballclub this year is that Trout and Ohtani can take the Angels to the postseason level. With pitchers like former Dodger Tyler Anderson on the mound, the Angels have a real chance of attaining that goal.
Anderson, who went 15-5 in his only season with the Dodgers in 2022, took his former team to task, going 5 1/3 innings with five strikeouts in picking up his second win during spring training.
Dennis has covered and written about politics, crime, social justice, sports, and entertainment. Dennis currently covers the NFL, MLB, NBA, NCAA, and Olympic sports. Dennis is the editor of News4usonline.com and serves as the publisher of the Compton Bulletin newspaper. He earned a journalism degree from Howard University.