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OC Register: Mike Trout, Angels pitchers keep heading in opposite directions


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HOUSTON — This week has provided evidence of why Mike Trout has figured in the MVP discussion, along with why he probably isn’t going to win.

Trout homered for the fourth time in his last five games on Friday, but the Angels lost 11-3 to the Houston Astros.

The Angels have lost three in a row, allowing 42 runs on seven homers in those games. They were the type of performances fitting of a fourth-place team, and many MVP voters prefer candidates on contenders.

That’s why Boston Red Sox teammates Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez have gotten much of the attention for the MVP, even though Trout is having arguably his best season.

On Friday night, Trout blasted his 37th home run, the second-best total of his career. His two-run shot put the Angels on the board after they fell behind by seven runs.

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For the season, Trout is now hitting .316 with a major-league leading 1.094 OPS, which would be his career-best. His OPS was 1.071 last year, and .991 when he won the MVP in 2016.

Betts, however, is second to Trout with a 1.057 OPS. At the start of the day, Betts had a 9.4 to 9.3 lead over Trout in WAR, according to FanGraphs. No one else was higher than 8.0.

Martinez, who might be favored by more traditional voters, has a 1.028 OPS, to go with 41 homers and 124 RBIs.

But the Red Sox celebrated a division title this week, while the Angels have now allowed 10 runs in three straight games for the first time since 2000.

Andrew Heaney gave up two homers to Yuli Gurriel, a first-inning grand slam and a two-run homer in the third. Gurriel’s brother Lourdes, a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, also hit two homers on Friday, making the first time in major league history brothers had multi-homer games on the same day.

Heaney lasted four innings and gave up six runs in his 29th start of the season. He has now pitched 180-1/3 innings this season, including one rehab start when he began the season on the disabled list.

Last year, when he came back from Tommy John surgery, he threw 49-1/3 innings in the minors and majors. In 2016 he pitched six innings in one start before being diagnosed with the elbow injury.

More to come on this story.

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