Mike Trout’s first game back should not have been All-Star Game, anyway – Orange County Register

What in the wide, wide world of sports is going on here …

  • It’s easy to see why Mike Trout sought to make the All-Star Game his first post-thumb-injury game. Nobody has more fun playing baseball than Trout, and the All-Star Game is the most-fun event in the sport. But all along the targeted first game should have been an Angels game.
  • This isn’t questioning Trout’s dedication to the Angels. The way he goes full-tilt boogie for every ball hit his direction in the outfield, the way he risks his body slamming into outfield walls, the way he runs the bases and his interaction with fans, he is the ultimate team-first guy. That’s what made it odd that Tuesday’s All-Star Game was considered a first-game possibility.
  • Trout is tied with Rod Carew and Jim Fregosi for most All-Star Game selections in Angels history, with six. Trout and Carew are the only Angels to be voted as starters for five straight All-Star games. If healthy, Trout breaks both records in 2018. Then Trout breaks those records again in ’19, and ’20 and … well …
  • Trout is signed through 2020. His base salary this season is $20,083,000. That increases to $35, 083,000 next season.
  • The Dodgers are No. 1 again in this week’s ESPN rankings of the major league’s 30 teams. Houston is No. 2. The Angels moved up from No. 16 last week to No. 13 this week.
  • The rankings include a brief analysis of each team. The brief analysis on the Dodgers included: “Justin Turner’s .382 batting average leads the majors and — if he maintains it — would be the highest at the All-Star break since Nomar Garciaparra’s .389 and Todd Helton’s .383 in 2000.”
  • That is why I voted for Turner on the “All-Star Game Final Vote” that concludes Thursday at MLB.com.
  • The brief analysis on the Angels included: “The Angels have clawed their way back to second place in the AL West with the help of a bullpen that has been one of the best in baseball since the start of June, while journeyman Ricky Nolasco hasn’t allowed a run in his past 15⅓ innings after a couple of rough starts.”
  • Cody Bellinger is the first Dodgers non-pitcher to be selected to the All-Star Game as a rookie.
  • This is a reminder that the All-Star Game result no longer decides whether the American League or National League gets home-field advantage in the World Series. The team with the superior regular-season record will have World Series home-field advantage.
  • Incentive to win in the All-Star Game remains and goes beyond league pride. The winning team’s players get $20,000 each. Losers get nothing.
  • Going into Tuesday, the Dodgers had hit seven grand slams this season. The franchise record is 10 set in 2010, the National League record is 12 (Atlanta in 1997 and St. Louis in 2000) and the MLB record is 14 (Oakland in 2000 and Cleveland in ’06).
  • Angels pinch-hitters were batting .196 (9 for 46) through Monday, tied for ninth among the 15 American League teams. They don’t have a lot of hitting depth on the bench….

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