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Simmons a key factor at plate, on basepaths
Angels defensive whiz goes 2-for-3, steals two bags vs. Royals
By Kaelen Jones
ANAHEIM -- Andrelton Simmons' ability in the field is well known, but the Angels shortstop's bat has been at the forefront of what's been a sensational year. During Los Angeles' 7-3 loss to the Royals on Sunday, Simmons went 2-for-3, collecting an RBI and a walk along with two stolen bases.
The two-time Gold Glove Award winner leads the Halos with 22 multi-hit games. Since May 12, he's reached base safely in 28 of 36 games while batting .328 (45-for-137) over that same stretch, raising his season average 39 points to .278, which ranks third on the team.
"We know about what he does in the field," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia, "but in the batter's box, he's been really good and gotten some big hits for us. It's important to us."
Simmons has been a key offensive factor, thanks to his ability to get on base. His on-base plus slugging percentage of .745 ranks fourth among Angels fielders.
The 25-year-old said earlier in the week -- after he hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the Angels' win over the Yankees on Wednesday, his seventh of the season -- that experience has been crucial to his increased comfort level at the plate.
"Experience, practice and getting to see those pitches a little more," he said. "Getting better. Still learning, but definitely recognizing the pitches a little better now."
That experience has bred consistency. Simmons has made the most of his chances at the plate, this in spite being floated around different spots in the order. He's batted leadoff (nine games), second (five games), fourth (once), fifth (21 games), sixth (26 games) and seventh (10 games) this season.
"Simba's been really consistent at the plate," Scioscia said. "He's hitting in a lot of different spots in the order for us, and he's doing a great job."
The wiry infielder's eye at the plate has also led to him getting an opportunity to utilize his speed. Sunday marked Simmons' third career multi-steal contest, and he set a career high by swiping his 11th and 12th bases of the season, needing just 72 games to do it.
Scioscia says it's a byproduct of Simmons reaching base -- not just via hits -- with regularity.
"I think he's just getting on base," Scioscia said. "He's getting the chance to play baseball. He's run the bases extremely well and he's hit the ball extremely well and he's getting big hits for us.
"Andrelton's having a terrific year."
Kaelen Jones is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.