Mike Trout was just a home run behind history.
The Angels slugger had four chances to hit a home run in his eighth straight game Tuesday and never got a ball deep into the outfield in Cleveland all four times.
“I won’t lie. I thought about it [the streak], sure,” Trout told reporters in Cleveland after the game. “Everyone texted me. You ask me a few questions. It’s kind of hard not to.
“It’s in the nature of things, I guess. When I think home run, not good as you have seen. I was chasing some climbs and was overly hyped. I have to start a new series I guess.”
His first two at-bats against Guardians starter Cody Morris resulted in a fly-out and a walk. On his last two tries against relievers Kirk McCarty and James Karinchak, Trout lined up and flew out. The Angels lost 3-1.
“He only missed one [good pitch] it looked like it,” interim manager Phil Nevin told reporters. “And then Karinchak made some good pitches on him.
“He will start another.”
Trout is one of only nine players to homer in seven straight games. The record of eight is held by Ken Griffey Jr., who accomplished the feat with the Seattle Mariners in 1993, Don Mattingly with the New York Yankees in 1987, and Dale Long with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1956.
“If I were a fan I’d be glued to my seat hoping he hit eight,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said of Trout. “Since I’m glued to my seat there, I hope he doesn’t. But he’s good for the game. He’s actually great for the game.”
Trout has proven how good he feels and how much he’s improved since being sidelined for more than a month with a back injury.
In the 21 games he played prior to Tuesday, he batted .313 with a 1.114 percentage on base plus slugging. Of his 26 hits in that span, 11 were home runs and three were doubles. He also contributed 18 RBIs on top of 17 runs. However, the Angels were only 10-11 in those games.
Trout’s 35 home runs — level on points with St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, ranked fourth in the majors starting Tuesday — is more than he has had in the previous two seasons combined. He hit 17 in 53 games during a shortened 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic and just eight in 36 games during a 2021 season derailed by a right calf strain.
The last time he hit 30 home runs in a season was in 2019, when he hit 45 when he won his third American League Most Valuable Player award.
Trout set an Angels record when his streak reached six in Houston on Saturday. Bobby Bonds scored five straight hits from August 2–7, 1977.
After the series hit seven games Monday, Trout told reporters in Cleveland, “I’m thinking about it after it happened, you know [the streak] still works. But otherwise I don’t think about it. … I knew I needed five to tie the Angels record and now I need eight. You are in good company.”
Trout’s surge in home runs also sparked the narrative that he and Shohei Ohtani motivated each other in a small competition to hit the most home runs on the team. Ohtani, the reigning AL MVP, has 34. Both have scored nine times in one game this season.
“It was cool,” Trout recently said of those games. “A lot of people, especially the last few days, are saying we’re pushing each other for the home run lead, and that’s pretty cool.
“I’m not trying to go up there and hit a home run. Neither is he. It’s just about having good bats.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
https://www.latimes.com/sports/angels/story/2022-09-13/angels-mike-trout-home-run-streak-guardians-mlb-recap Mike Trout’s Angels home run streak ends short of MLB record