Albert Pujols’ single in Thursday’s the ninth inning that gave the Angels their first victory of the season tied him with David Ortiz of the Red Sox with 19 walk-off hits since 2000, the most among active players. Pujols said he knows what to look for in such situations having experienced the scenario so many times in his 15-year career.
Thursday marked Pujols’ fifth walk-off hit in five seasons with the Angels and the second time he has produced a game-winning hit after Mike Trout was intentionally walked in front of him. He would have been credited with a double for the ball he hit in the left-center field gap had he not needed just a single to win the game.
Last season the Angels won 23 games on the last at-bat, tying the Cubs for the most such victories in baseball in 2015.
Mike Trout was presented with a Silver Slugger award Friday night after being voted the best hitting center fielder in the American League last season. Trout has won the award four consecutive seasons and joins Mike Piazza as the only player to win the award his first four years in the league.
Vladimir Guerrero is the only other Angels player to win four Silver Slugger awards.
Trout hit a career-high 41 home runs in 2015, had 90 RBIs and a slash line of .299/.402/.590. He finished second in the American League MVP voting for the third time in his four-year career after winning the AL MVP in 2014.
Andrelton Simmons was honored as baseball’s best defensive player in 2015 prior to the series opener against Texas when he received the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year award.
Simmons, who was acquired in a November trade that sent Erick Aybar and two top pitching prospects to the Braves, won gold gloves in 2013 and 2014. Unlike the gold glove award, which is voted on by managers and coaches, the award Simmons received Thursday is based on sabermetrics.
Last season for the Braves, Simmons led NL shortstops in Defensive Runs Saved, Ultimate Zone Rating and FanGraphs’ Defensive Runs Above Average.
It wasn’t until after Andrew Heaney’s start in Tuesday’s 6-1 loss that the strained flexor muscle in his pitching arm became a significant concern. The left-hander said the ball felt different coming out of his hand beginning in the fourth inning, but he could still pitch effectively.
When it was brought to his attention after the game that his velocity slightly declined during the game, he decided to talk with the Angels training staff, who discovered the strain to his forearm was worthy of a stint on the 15-day disabled list.
Heaney’s disappointment is only enhanced by the prominent role he was in line for this season. Continue reading