OAKLAND -- The belief -- or, at least, the hope -- was that the boost Mark Trumbo needed to escape his head-scratching slump came Saturday, by driving in the winning runs with an eighth-inning single against Felix Hernandez. But Trumbo knows better. He knows himself in the batter's box better than anybody.
And for quite some time now, he hardly recognizes the hitter standing in it.
"I haven't had my swing for a long time now," the Angels slugger said. "So, I'm kind of doing the best I can with what I have. I haven't felt like my swing has clicked for quite a while now. It's kind of like the golfer who can't quite right the ship, always tinkering and always hoping it's going to turn around. I haven't felt right for a while now. Usually it's more a feeling than a result thing."
Trumbo can't tell you exactly when his struggles began, but if you go back to when he was named the full-time cleanup hitter on July 17, before a demotion right back to fifth, he's batting .207 with five homers and 63 strikeouts. In that span, his batting average has gone from .311 to .273, his slugging percentage from an American League-leading .634 to the current .510.
"I've had some rough first halves," Trumbo said, "but I don't think I've ever struggled in the second half. So, this is a new experience for me."
Trumbo still leads the Angels with 30 homers, but he hasn't gone deep in 12 games. In Monday's 8-3 win over the A's, he was the only starter without a hit, hitting two deep fly balls but also striking out twice on fastballs way over the strike zone.
So, Trumbo will get a mental day off on Tuesday, Angels manager Mike Scioscia decided. Vernon Wells, who reached base four times in the Labor Day victory, will take his place in the lineup.
"You want to give a guy enough room to swing his way out of a little bit of a dry spell, and Mark will get that," Scioscia said. "But I think just to give him a day and let him breathe right now is the way we should go."