The Los Angeles Angels will receive a major boost on Friday as all signs are pointing to Mike Trout playing in his first game since July 12 after being diagnosed with a rare back condition.
Trout was in the midst of an MVP-caliber campaign before going on the injured list. On the season, he is batting .270/.368/.599 with 17 doubles, 24 home runs and 51 RBI across 79 games.
Trout’s absence has had a domino effect on the Angels lineup as Shohei Ohtani — who usually bats before Trout in the order — isn’t getting as many good pitches to hit without his protection.
Angels interim manager Phil Nevin expects that will change when Trout is penciled back into the lineup, per Doug Padilla of the Southern California News Group:
“Plain and simple, Shohei is pitched different when Mike’s not in the lineup; when Mike’s in the lineup and Shohei’s not, Mike is pitched different,” Manager Phil Nevin said. “And it snowballs down through the lineup. To have guys move up to roles that they are not accustomed to is a difficult transition.”
Since Trout was sidelined, Ohtani has hit a stellar .296/.394/.611 with eight home runs and 17 RBI in 29 games. That’s a testament to how special of a talent Ohtani is, who continues putting up numbers never seen before.
The two-way star is batting .265/.356/.519 with 17 doubles, 27 home runs and 72 RBI in 491 plate appearances over the course of the 2022 season. On the mound, he is 10-7 with a 2.69 ERA, 2.48 FIP and 1.06 WHIP in 117 innings pitched (20 starts).
Angels’ Toussaint: Ohtani is ‘one of a kind’
The Angels were swept by the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday, but it wasn’t without a strong performance from Ohtani, who went 4-for-5 with a home run, triple, four RBI and two runs scored.
Touki Toussaint, who took the loss after allowing four runs in 2.2 innings, spoke about Ohtani’s skillset from the perspective of a pitcher who used to hit in the National League.