Just how good has Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout been this season? At least one team is treating him as if he were Barry Bonds in his prime.
After being terrorized by Trout the past couple days — and long before that — the Seattle Mariners had enough Wednesday. In two crucial, late-inning situations, they opted not to pitch to Trout at all.
Trout stepped to the plate with two outs in the six inning during a tie game. Fearing that Trout would give his team the lead, the Mariners decided to intentionally walk Trout.
He came up again in the eighth inning, this time with his team leading by a run. Instead of giving Trout a chance to add to that lead, the Mariners intentionally walked him once again.
Was that a good idea?
Conventional wisdom would tell you no, it’s not a good idea. Trout might be the best player on the planet, but it’s counterproductive to put a runner on base when you want to prevent runners from scoring. On top of that, Trout was followed in the order by Justin Upton. And while Upton isn’t Trout, ( who is?) he’s not a slouch at the plate.
But in the Mariners’ defense, Trout had completely destroyed them during the series. On Monday, he went 2-for-3, with two home runs and a walk. On Tuesday, he went 3-for-5 with two more home runs. Prior to his pair of intentional walks Wednesday, Trout was 2-for-3 … but with no home runs. That’s improvement, as far as the Mariners are concerned.
Prior to Wednesday’s game, Trout was hitting .636/.680/1.545 in five games against the Mariners this season. That’s a small sample, but Trout has also been dominant against Seattle throughout his career. He owns a career .317/.408/.613 slash line against the Mariners over 123 games. He’s hit more home runs against the Mariners than any other team in the league over his career.
Oh, and Trout has just been awesome this season in general. How awesome? Well, he’s off to the best start of his career, which is really saying something.
Did it work out?
Yes, actually. Upton struck out to end the inning in the sixth. In the eighth, Upton flew out with Trout on first to end the inning.
Keeping the Angels off the board in the eighth really mattered. The Mariners managed to tie the game on a solo home run in the bottom of the inning.
Seattle then won the game in the ninth on a Mitch Haniger home run. Walking Trout did not wind up hurting them.
The Angels return to Seattle in early July for the next series against the Mariners. We’ll see if Trout even bothers packing his bats for those games.
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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik
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