Just when it seemed the Los Angeles Angles were finally headed in the right direction, disaster has struck. On Monday night, Mike Trout left LA's game against the San Diego Padres with a wrist injury. It happened after what seemed to be a normal swing. Today we learned he has a broken left hamate bone and could miss months. It's the latest example that the baseball gods have something against the Angels.
The Angels haven't made the playoffs since 2014 when they were swept in the ALDS by the Kansas City Royals. They haven't been above .500 since 2015. That's right, in the last seven seasons, LA hasn't finished above .500 despite having three MVPs (Trout twice, Shohei Ohtani once). It feels like no matter who they add, or how they shake up the organization, things turn out badly. Players show up to play for the Angels and fall apart, no example is as glaring as Anthony Rendon who immediately became a shell of his former self upon getting a huge contract.
Things have been different in 2023. The Angels enter play on Tuesday at 45-42 with a plus-26 run differential. They're three games out of a wild card spot, but at least they're finally in the playoff mix. Things are trending upwards. And as that happened, the best player in franchise history broke a bone in his wrist.
Trout will join Logan O'Hoppe, Zach Neto, Gio Urshela and Brandon Drury on the injured list. Pitchers Jose Suarez, Ben Joyce and Matt Moore are also out.
While Ohtani has rightfully gotten all the press this season, Trout has also been really good. While his numbers are down from last year, he's slashing .263/.369/.493 with a .862 OPS, 18 home runs and 44 RBIs. His fWAR of 3.1 is tied for 15th in Major League Baseball. Other than Ohtani, Trout and Brandon Drury, no one who has played more than 35 games has an OPS over .800. So, yeah, he's going to be missed.
Trout is almost certainly out until at least the trade deadline (Aug. 1), but hamate injuries can be slow to heal. The Angels need to tread water for about a month without their star and hope they can make a run over the last few weeks of the season.
This injury came at the worst possible time. Exactly when a curse would rear its ugly head.