The Cincinnati Reds (36-40) start a short two-game series against Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels (39-40) at Angel Stadium in Anaheim for the first time since 2016. First pitch will be at 10:07 ET.
While the Reds are coming off a productive 5-2 week against the Houston Astros and the Milwaukee Brewers, the Angels are returning home from a 4-3 road trip in which they won three of four in Toronto and lost two of three in St. Louis. The Angels currently sit in fourth place in the NL West, already ten games behind the Astros.
The Angels are 7th in the AL in team OPS at .777, while the pitching has really struggled. Their 4.98 team ERA sits at 12th in the AL. Of course, when Mike Trout plays for your team, there’s always something good to talk about. And right now Trout is swinging a very hot bat.
Mike Trout, in his last seven games:
14-for-27, 2 doubles, 4 homers, 5 walks, 4 strikeouts, an OPS of 1.643.
Trout and Cody Bellinger tied for the MLB lead in WAR. https://t.co/dHiRR6BETx
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) June 23, 2019
— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) June 24, 2019
Tyler Mahle returns to his hometown tonight to pitch in front of his family and friends. He will try to build upon his most recent start, when he had his longest outing of the season, pitching 7.0 inning against the Astros and giving up four hits and two runs while striking out seven. He will also try to correct his road woes this season. Mahle has given up 27 earned runs on the road compared to only nine at home. He’s also allowed 10 home runs on the road and only three at GABP.
These days every start Tyler Mahle makes is important in proving he should stay with the major league club when Alex Wood comes back from the injured list. Most think either Mahle or Anthony DeSclafani will be the odd pitcher out, and that Mahle will get sent down. However, one could easily argue that Mahle has been the better pitcher.
In 112.0 innings last season, Mahle walked 53 batters and struck out 110. This season, in 77.2 innings, he has walked only 18 batters while striking out 80. His K% has increased slightly from a season ago, and his BB% has dropped by five percent. That’s a huge improvement and has resulted in a K/BB% of 19.3%, up from 11.2% in 2018.
Mahle has faced two Angels hitters in his career, Tommy LaStella and Justin Bour. Bour has a home run in three at-bats against him.
Twenty-eight year old left-hander Andrew Heaney is making his fifth start tonight after starting the season on the IL with elbow inflammation. It’s been a struggle for the 2012 first round draft pick so far. He’s given up 16 earned runs in 25.1 innings. The home run ball has plagued him, as he’s given up seven of them. His most recent outing against the Blue Jays was his shortest in those five starts, giving up five runs in 3.2 innings.
In 2018, Heaney had a very good season, considering that it was his first full season after having Tommy John surgery in April 2017. He had a 4.15 ERA/3.99 FIP with 180 strikeouts and only 45 walks. More importantly for the Angels, he started 30 games and pitched 180.0 innings. That’s what all teams love to see from a pitcher coming back from TJ surgery.
Heaney has four pitches, but relies on just two: his sinker (64.6%) and his curve (29.2%). He will occasionally use his change-up (5.8%), but has only thrown his four-seamer twice this season in 25.1 innings.
Jose Iglesias and Yasiel Puig are the only two Reds to have faced Heaney. Puig has a home run off Heaney in three at-bats.
|1. Nick Senzel (CF)
2. Joey Votto (DH)
3. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
4. Yasiel Puig (RF)
5. Jose Iglesias (SS)
6. Phillip Ervin (LF)
7. Jose Peraza (2B)
8. Curt Casali (C)
9. Kyle Farmer (1B)
|1. Tommy La Stella (2B)
2. Mike Trout (CF)
3. Shohei Ohtani (DH)
4. Justin Upton (LF)
5. Kole Calhoun (RF)
6. Albert Pujols (1B)
7. David Fletcher (3B)
8. Luis Rengifo (SS)
9. Jonathan Lucroy (C)
Joey Votto will be the DH tonight against the left-hander, while Kyle Farmer plays first base.
News, Notes, and Pregame Reading
-Scooter Gennett is rehabbing with Louisville this week. I would guess he’ll be back with the Reds sometime this weekend.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) June 25, 2019
— Redleg Nation (@redlegnation) June 25, 2019
David Hernandez’s ERA is nothing special but a deeper dive into his stats shows the reliever has been terrific for the #Reds this season. @ctrent has that and much more in this week’s C. Notes. https://t.co/69iwIhdOtw
— The Athletic (@TheAthleticCIN) June 25, 2019
Stat of the Day
I know what you’re thinking. There’s a lot of Trout content on this post about the Reds. Well, when the Reds play against a team that employs a once-in-a-lifetime player, this is what you get. Trout is already one of the greatest players to ever play the game of baseball, and at only 27 years of age, he keeps getting better every year.
Mike Trout won the AL MVP in 2014 when he posted a .939 OPS.
2015: .991 OPS
2016: .991 OPS
2017: 1.071 OPS
2018: 1.088 OPS
2019: 1.113 OPS
— Jeremy Frank (@MLBRandomStats) June 20, 2019
During these five years, he has only one MVP award to his name (not counting a potential one this season). That’s a little mind-boggling. Anyway, I hope the Reds can keep Trout hitless over these next two games. Then I will be free to root for him again.