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Mike Trout vs. Mookie Betts, this time in the Freeway Series

Angels host Dodgers this weekend in Anaheim

MLB: All Star Game Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The winners of the last two American League MVP awards face off this weekend in Anaheim, with Mike Trout and the Angels hosting Mookie Betts and the Dodgers beginning Friday night.

The 2019 AL MVP Trout (12 years, $426.5 million) and 2018 AL MVP Betts (12 years, $365 million) also signed the two biggest contracts, by total value, in baseball history. Trout is under contract through 2030, and Betts is signed through 2032.

Friday marks the one-third mark of the season for the Angels, who play their 20th game. Things are starting to normalize, with Trout, the best player in baseball, making his way near the top of the leaderboards. Trout is now tied for seventh in the majors in FanGraphs WAR (1.0). In his eight full seasons, Trout finished first or tied for first in fWAR six times, second (to Betts) once, and fourth once (when he was injured and only played 114 games).

Betts, who homered three times on Thursday night, is third in MLB with a 1.3 fWAR.

Trout’s been especially hot since returning from paternity leave. In his last nine games Trout has seven home runs, hitting .351/.390/.919. He was 6-for-12 with three homers in the three-game series against Oakland.

Trout in his career has hit .246/.331/.492 with eight home runs in 34 games. He has a lower OPS against only three teams, none of which he has played 10 times:

It says a lot of how great Trout has been that his .823 OPS against the Dodgers only ranks 26th among the teams he’s played.

Trout is 2-for-13 (.154/.313/.231) in his career against Clayton Kershaw, who starts Friday for the Dodgers. Those hits, a single and double, came in his first two at-bat against Kershaw, in 2014, but Trout is 0-for-11 with three walks against him since. They last faced off in 2018.

Also on fire is Anthony Rendon, who has homered in each of his last three games. He entered the homestand in an 0-for-21 slump, but against the A’s he was 5-for-11 (.455/.571/1.273) with three walks, five runs scored and four RBI.

Rendon leads the Angels with 17 walks, giving him the rare combination of a .180 batting average and .406 on-base percentage. I’m willing to go out on a limb and say Rendon won’t end up hitting below the Mendoza Line in 2020. But just in case he does, he could join the only two Angels hitters with at least 100 plate appearances in a season with a sub-.200 batting average and an on-base percentage of at least .350: Tom Burgess (.196/.354 in 183 PA in 1962) and Charlie Sands (.193/.370 in 108 PA in 1974).

Game info

Time: 6:40 p.m. PT

TV: Fox Sports West, FS1 (simulcast of FSW), SportsNet LA (Dodgers broadcast)