The common refrain among baseball fans aware of the situation in Los Angeles of Anaheim is that Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani are two of the best to ever play the game. They are inarguably two of the best playing it right now. Still, the Angels have a hard time winning games. They have famously made the playoffs once with Trout as a member of their lineup - in 2014 when they were unceremoniously swept out of the ALDS by the upstart Kansas City Royals.
Today, however, Trout and Ohtani proved to be plenty to handle the Royals. Today they combined to go five-for-seven with a walk, two runs scored, and three runs batted in.
As noted in the game thread, the Royals have led at the end of vanishingly few innings this season. Today added nine more innings during which they never lead. MJ Melendez hit a home run in the first inning - just over a leaping Mike Trout - but Jordan Lyles gave up that lead in the bottom of the inning thanks to a Taylor Ward walk, a Mike Trout ground-rule double, and a Shohei Ohtani deep fly to left.
Thus the score remained tied until the sixth inning when Vinnie Pasquantino got a hold of his fourth bomb of the season in the top of the sixth, to almost the same spot as Melendez. Unfortunately, in the bottom half, Jordan Lyles found himself unable to safely eat any more innings. He gave up back-to-back-to-back blasts to Reid, Trout, and Ohtani before settling down and finishing the inning.
Today’s line won’t look terrible for Lyles - four runs in six innings is by no means “good” but we’ve seen worse around these parts. In the end, he only gave up four hits and walked one while striking out five. Typically, when you strike out as many batters as you allow to reach base you’re doing well. But when the Angels got on base against the righty they made it count, four of those runners scored.
Bobby Witt Jr. clobbered a home run - again over the leaping Trout very near to where Melendez and Pasquantino took theirs out - to bring the game within one. But that’s as close as it would get.
Melendez left the game with lower back tightness and was replaced by Hunter Dozier. Freddy Fermin got his first major league hit in his first at-bat of the season, ending that drama rather quickly. Amir Garret and Josh Taylor each pitched a scoreless inning.
The Royals fall to 5-17, remaining in the AL Central cellar. They’ll continue their west coast road trip tomorrow as they head to Arizona to face the Diamondbacks. Brad Keller will get the start for the Royals. Tommy Henry will make his season debut for the snakes.
P.S. Here are Trout’s and Ohtani’s home runs because they have such gorgeous swings more people should see them doing their thing so they can admire the beauty therein. I find myself particularly amused that Trout hit his home run to the same spot the Royals kept hitting theirs. It’s perhaps even funnier that Ohtani hit in the same direction but much further than the other four.