The Angels scored 12 runs on 16 hits, and it is my privilege to tell you that that was enough. With Dillon Peters gracing the mound, it was shockingly more than enough. The game where we had a third straight left-hander pitch the majority of innings and only get 4 strikeouts while giving up 7 hits turned into a certifiable rout early. There could only be one explanation: Kikuchi was pitching.
The ultimate Mariner killer was up to his usual antics, turning in a nearly identical performance to his previous outing against the Halos.
Yusei Kikuchi has now lasted just 3 1/3 innings in each of his last 3 starts. In those 10 total innings, he's allowed 29 hits, 18 runs, 15 earned runs and 6 HRs.— Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) June 9, 2019
Kikuchi has now given up a combined 16 earned runs, 29 hits, and 5 home runs to the Angels specifically this season across 11.2 innings. Even when he was good in April and the Mariners were not the worst team in baseball for a while there, he still only threw 5 innings of 4 run ball. He truly has been worth what Seattle is paying him.
The story of the game revolved around Shohei Ohtani meeting his natural rival in mortal combat, and the dual-wielding batsman came to dance. He began the show with a nice, little 2-out infield single —it totally could have been stopped by Edwin Encarnacion— on his second fastest home-to-first time of the season (a well above average 29.3 ft/s) that kicked off a rally filled with the kinds of defensive marvels one has come to expect from the Seattle Ozzie Smiths.
Albert Pujols would double on an okay-struck drive down the line, Kevan Smith would avoid multiple would-be strikeouts because of egregious framing violations and drive in the pair, and Calhoun would reach and move Smith into scoring position thanks to Dylan Moore. To top off the inning, Puello would then punch one the opposite way right next to a belly flopping Encarnacion, who apparently has less range than Andrelton Simmons (who is presently forbidden from moving laterally) does.
The Mariners would score a couple off of a mostly effectively wild Peters before the Angels would deliver the knockout blow
jacks are pretty cool, for sure. But this game isn’t about Mike Trout or Tommy La Stella. It is about the 1v1 death-match between Shohei Ohtani. H.T. Ennis and I were of the same mind that it could only end one way.
Of course he did.
The inning continued, but it doesn’t really matter too much. The dual was decided and Ohtani emerged as Aaron Burr to Kikuchi’s Hamilton. Or maybe they’re friends and those deep huffs we keep seeing Yusei take after allowing a bomb is actually him just trying to maintain his chill and keep from celebrating with the team by which he is secretly being paid under the table.
About fifteen other notable happenings took place tonight as well. Here are a few thoughts.
- Trout’s OPS is finally back above 1.100 for the first time in God knows how long. He was down to around 1.000 at one point in May, so this is doubly impressive. His fWAR at the time of writing is now .2 behind Cody Bellinger, and his OFF score is the highest in baseball thanks to a few extra plate appearances over the National League competition.
- Ohtani also doubled, but it was off Whosit McWhat and he didn’t get the cycle.
- Cesar Puello hit another home run and it feels like he just can’t be stopped. He had yet another 3 hit game (and an HBP) and led the team by driving in 4 of the 12 runs today. His name is dangerously close to King Chicken, so I’m really rooting for him. He reminds me of 2016 Jefry Marte with the ultra long swing, but batting .444. With lefties coming up in the next two games, he should have more opportunities to start.
- Pujols got on base 4 times, matching Trout and Puello. His OPS is now .782 and if it weren’t for Lucas Giolito being a Cy Young candidate, I would think he was a Comeback Player of the Year in the making.
- Kevan Smith >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> every other catcher.
- I hope Jose Suarez is good enough where I don’t feel confident saying that Dillon Peters is our best left-hander.
This poll is closed
Mike Trout, your 2019 MVP