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OC Register: Angels’ Kole Calhoun slumping, or is it more like regressing?


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HOUSTON — The feel-good story of Kole Calhoun 2.0 has taken a turn in the last few weeks.

Manager Mike Scioscia didn’t seem concerned, however, that the Angels right fielder is slipping from the mechanical changes to that led to him having the best stretch of his career in the first three months after he came off the disabled list.

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“If you expect a guy to have his timing and be in synch every at-bat for the rest of his life, that’s not the human element,” Scioscia said before Sunday’s game. “Of course there are going to be some times where you’re not quite where you want to be. It’s more of a timing issue than anything with Kole.”

Calhoun entered play on Sunday in a 1-for-41 slump, with 16 strikeouts.

It may simply be the natural regression that was due after Calhoun’s first 70 games following a stint on the disabled list and a dramatic swing change. He hit .276 with 17 homers and an .896 OPS in those 257 at-bats.

That’s half a season of elite production.

The current slump has dropped Calhoun 2.0 to .243 with 18 homers and an .806 OPS since coming back on June 18. Those are still numbers the Angels would gladly take over a full season next year. The major league average OPS out of right field this season is .768.

Scioscia said Calhoun still has his swing and his mechanics where he wants them, but the timing is just off.

“He has hit balls harder than (his average lately), there’s no doubt about it,” Scioscia said. “There’s not a lot to show for it.”

Calhoun’s average exit velocity from the time he came off the DL to his recent slump was 92.1 mph. During the 1-for-41, it’s 92.4 mph. One difference is that he’s been striking out more, once every 2.6 at-bats instead of once every 3.6 at-bats.

Five of the 16 strikeouts in the last two weeks have been called third strikes, and ot all good calls. He was called out on strikes just 10 times in the previous three months.

ALSO

Mike Trout had the day off for the second consecutive Sunday, interrupting a streak in which he’d homered in five of his previous six games. Trout has 38 homers, with six games to go in the regular season after Sunday…

Jose Fernández was out of the lineup a day after suffering a hand contusion when he was hit by a pitch on Saturday. Scioscia said Fernández will be evaluated again to see if he can play on Monday. He has become the Angels’ everyday first baseman since Albert Pujols had season-ending surgery.

UP NEXT

Angels (RHP Felix Peña, 3-5, 4.20) vs. Rangers (RHP Adrian Sampson, 0-2, 4.09), 7 p.m., Monday, Fox Sports West, KLAA (830 AM).

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