Disaster Looms: 5/28

In a week that got off to a promising start for the Halos, their season is now threatened with fears, as their star, Mike Trout, will be out for an extended period after injuring his thumb on a slide while attempting to steal second base in the fifth inning of Sunday’s game against the Miami Marlins.  Trout did not exit the game immediately but it became clear quickly that the injury was serious and threatening.

The Angels flew from New York to Florida following a win over the Mets last Sunday and promptly took the first two of a four game set against the Rays in Tampa which brought their season record to 25-23. In Monday’s game, the Angels victory was helped by a solid pitching performance by JC Ramirez who notched his fourth win of the season. The winning run was scored by Jeffry Marte who walked, advanced on a wild pitch, took third on a fly out, and came home on another wild pitch. Not pretty– but a win is a win. On Tuesday, Cameron Maybin and Mike Trout went back to back. Maybin’s homer, his second of the year actually hit the C-ring of the dome at the Trop; a home run according to the ground rules. The Angels win was backed by the strong showing of their pitching staff as Matt Shoemaker combined with the relief corps to shutout the Rays, 4-0.

Unfortunately, things went downhill for the Halos in Florida as they dropped the next two in Tampa. Ricky Nolasco, who is tied with ex-Angel Jered Weaver for second most home runs given up by a major league pitcher with 16, gave up 3 dingers on Wednesday as the Rays won 5-2. This defeat was followed by a 4-0 shutout loss to Tampa. The only bright spot in those two games was home run number 597 for Albert Pujols.

The Angels concluded their east coast trip with three games at Marlins Park, the former site of the famed Orange Bowl. The series will be represent their first ever visit to the ballpark that will the host the 2017 All Star game. Back in 2011, when the Angels last played in Miami, the Marlins shared what was originally called Joe Robbie Stadium and later became known as Sun Life Stadium with the football Dolphins.

Unfortunately, this visit will not bring fond memories as the Halos dropped 2 of 3 to the Marlins and lost Mike Trout for what looks to be as many as eight weeks. At the time of his injury, Trout was hitting .342 and leading the Majors in home runs with 16.  His on base percentage stands at a whopping .461, his slugging percentage is .742, and to show just how much respect he has in the sport, manager Terry Collins of the Mets was quoted last week as saying that he would have considered walking Trout intentionally with the bases loaded.  Trout has never been placed on the DL since he first came up to the Majors.  His absence will surely be hard on him, and the millions of Angels fans across America.

At first, the news on Trout was somewhat encouraging as x-rays on his injured thumb revealed no break. However, an MRI, performed immediately after the Angels returned home on Monday revealed ligament damage and the need for hand surgery. With luck, Trout will be voted in as an All-Star and play in the game…or return shortly following the all-star break. In a season filled with injuries, the injury to Trout’s thumb deprives the Halo’s of their greatest star and attraction. Their resilience and ability to withstand adversity will now stand its toughest test ever.

If there was a silver lining this week, it was the continued steady and improved hitting by shortstop Andrelton Simmons.  Simmons, who was acquired primarily for his defensive prowess is becoming a fine “all-around” player and should be considered a strong candidate for the all-star game.  Interestingly, Simmons injured the same ligament as Trout, last year, was operated on, and returned  to play after just five weeks.  Godspeed Mike Trout, we can’t wait for your return.