It’s not like Mike Trout’s career highlight reel needed another entry in order to convince you that he’s very likely going to go down as one of the best players in history, but here, have another one.
Don’t get too excited. There’s no 480-foot dinger or triple down the right-field line here. But also, get excited, because this is Mike Trout making one of the best pitchers in baseball’s life a living hell for 13 pitches.
Everything about this at-bat is relatively normal until the seventh pitch, when Sale frisbees a perfect slider toward the plate, one that breaks exactly as it was supposed to and would leave something like 95 percent of the league flailing at air. After waiting and waiting and waiting, Trout hacks at the pitch at the last possible moment and fouls it into the ground.
If Sale was feeling frustrated after that pitch, you couldn’t blame him. I figure he probably was, given that he proceeded to spend most of the rest of the at-bat firing 98-99 mph fastballs across the plate, looking to overpower Trout. That didn’t work out, because of course Trout just fouled off each of those pitches and squeezed a walk out of the at-bat. Home runs are cool as hell, but there are other forms of great hitting that also deserve appreciation.