09/29/12 9:45 PM ET
Trout's numbers slip as longest season winds down
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
Trout had a solid game Friday, hitting his 29th homer to score his team-record 125th run, then notching a triple to set an Angels rookie record with his 173rd hit. But the Angels center fielder has played every inning of every game since July 29, and has been out of the starting lineup just twice since May 7.
That may be a big reason for his statistical regression.
Since the start of August, Trout sports a .271/.367/.471 slash line, his batting average dropping from an American League-leading .348 to the current .321 mark.
"Some days, legs are heavy, but other than that, I feel fine physically," said Trout, who went 10-for-55 last September. "I just go out there, day in and day out, and just do my job, not try to do too much. Get on base and try to score some runs."
With the AL Most Valuable Player Award, Trout has a lot in his favor, with regards to his raw numbers -- he's one homer and three steals away from being the third player in history to match 30 home runs and 50 stolen bases in one season -- and his sabermetric value.
But a big thing pointing in favor of Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera, in addition to his quest for the Triple Crown, is the fact he's played his best baseball down the stretch, posting a .338/.408/.662 slash line since the start of August.
In the batter's box, Trout believes he needs to stay on pitches longer, swing at strikes and not pull his head out.
Physically, though, he says he's fine.
"It's definitely been a long year, but these games, when they mean the most, the adrenaline rush kicks in," he said. "Especially here, it's sold out every night, and [the Rangers are] doing everything they can to knock us out and we're doing everything we can to knock them out. So I just go out there and play with high energy and try to win some ballgames."
A bit sore, Morales not in Saturday's lineup
ARLINGTON -- Angels designated hitter Kendrys Morales, who exited Friday's game in the eighth inning due to soreness in his right rib cage, was out of Saturday's starting lineup, partly because left-hander Derek Holland was scheduled to toe the rubber for the Rangers.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia, speaking before the game was postponed, said Morales is feeling "a lot better" and expected him to be available off the bench if needed. He could start Game 1 of Sunday's doubleheader against right-hander Yu Darvish.
"Hopefully, he'll be all right for tomorrow," Scioscia said. "We really need him from the left side. That's where it was affecting him a little more last night."
Morales said the pain had been lingering in the area for a couple of days and he felt it a little stronger heading into Friday's eventual 7-4 win, which saw him strike out in his first three plate appearances from the left side and then double from the right side before being replaced by Kole Calhoun in the top of the eighth.
"From the time I got here it was bothering me a little more than usual," Morales said in Spanish on Friday. "It wasn't from any particular swing or anything."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.