Perhaps the hottest hitter for the Angels over the last week, Justin Upton is cooled off after getting hit twice forced him from game.
Justin Upton has dealt with a lot of adversity over the last two seasons with the Angels. From injuries to a decline in the field and at the plate to a loss of role with the team, the outfielder has seen a run of bad luck every ballplayer dreads.
And just when it seemed to be turning around, fate struck again. Twice.
After his batting average fell to a season low .094 on August 18th, Upton has been on fire for the Angels. Since that point, he has slashed .371/.476/.714 (13-for-35) with six extra-base hits and 10 RBI over his last 11 games. He’s also been hit by four pitches in that time.
It was the latter trend that will ultimately get in the way of his continued progress. On Tuesday night, Lance Lynn of the Texas Rangers plunked Upton not once but twice on the left wrist. The first came on a 92 MPH sinker in the top of the 2nd inning. The second was a 95.7 MPH fastball that appeared to catch Upton on the wrist. The latter one ultimately forced him from the game.
Luckily for Upton, the second HBP appears to have caught part of the knob as well, likely reducing some of the impact on his hand. As such, he escaped with a left-hand contusion and his x-rays showed negative for a fracture, per the team’s PR department.
While not a break for Upton, it was still a tough one for an Angels team that was playing its best baseball of the season heading into their series in Texas. Upton’s resurgence had played a key role in the Halos going 5-1 to start the month of September, before Tuesday’s loss to the Rangers.
For his part, Lance Lynn was more than apologetic for both pitches getting away, not to mention the one that also hit Anthony Rendon in the first.
"“I hit Upton twice and hated both of them,” Lynn said. “I heard that X-rays were negative, so very happy to hear that. Nothing was intentional, and I wasn’t even trying to go in there. When you look with the season that’s gone on, and the way everything has gone, you don’t want to hurt anyone ever.” (h/t Rhett Bolinger, MLB.com)"
Taylor Ward replaced Upton in the lineup on Tuesday, and proceeded to go 2-for-2 in the game. He’ll likely remain in the lineup on Wednesday with the Angels considering Upton day-to-day while the swelling subsides. Ward is currently the only outfielder on the Angels bench