The third and final pitcher on the list is a familiar face for Trout and the Angels, former Mariners starter Felix Hernandez. The ‘success’ of the Hernandez-Trout matchup is up for debate as to which player has the upper hand.
The peak of this rivalry was from 2012-2015 when both of these players were All-Stars in each of those four seasons.
Angels: Mike Trout and Felix Hernandez had intense battles against each other.
Trout’s 88 at-bats against Hernandez is the most against any pitcher in his career, with the next closest being Derek Holland (48 ABs). ‘King’ Felix has struck out Trout 27 times, the most for any pitcher against the three-time MVP winner.
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That’s not to say Trout hasn’t had his fair share of big hits against Hernandez, he has. Trout has gone 31-for-88 (.352 BA) with eight home runs and 20 RBI. Each of those (BA, HR, RBI) are the most versus any pitcher for Trout, as well as the most given up to any batter for Hernandez.
In 55 career starts against the Angels, Hernandez owns a 17-18 record with a 3.60 ERA, 1.196 WHIP, and 8.5 K/9 ratio.
Like Verlander and Price, Hernandez (35) is at the tail end of what’s been a great career. The King is a former Cy Young winner, has 169 career wins, and holds a 3.42 ERA, 1.206 WHIP, and 8.3 K/9 across 15 MLB seasons. Those numbers would be even better if it wasn’t for his last four seasons of big-league action where Hernandez held an ERA higher than 3.55 (only times in his career). Not to mention the lack of support Hernandez had around him in Seattle for the better part of his career where the team finished under .500 in 11 seasons.
Hernandez has not pitched since 2019 and is currently a free agent.
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I guess it’s no surprise that Trout has run into some trouble against these players. You can only tip your cap to that, as each of the three should be considered as some of the greatest pitchers of the last decade.
With the way he’s playing now, it’s going to be tough for any others to limit the production of Mike Trout.