Trumbo rebounds from worst game to his best
ANAHEIM, Calif. – Like any good professional hitter, Mark Trumbo walked out of Angel Stadium late Monday night and wiped away an awful game from his memory.
Except for one thing. He remembered to watch some video.
Hitters don't like to dwell on bad games, and Trumbo had a bad one: 0 for 5 with four strikeouts.
Tuesday night, in what can only be considered an immediate and impressive recovery, he had two home runs, added a single and a double, scored twice and drove in four, lifting his batting average to a team-high .337.
"It's a strange game," he said. "Yesterday was statistically the worst game I've ever played. Today would probably take the cake for the best game I've ever played. Strange."
There's no way to explain these things. Players go through ups and downs, and the only thing they can do is ride out the good times for as long as possible and try to keep the slumps short. Trumbo had four homers in four games at the end of May, then followed that with a 1-for-16 stumble that included Monday night's disaster.
He showered, dressed and left the ballpark. He couldn't forget the game quickly enough.
"As soon as I walked out of here," he said. "I'll think about it for a little while, but beyond that it doesn't do a whole lot of good. Big picture, I'll be playing this game for a little while longer, and if I was to dwell on that and let it carry over, I probably wouldn't have been able to do hardly anything tonight."
His only concession to the game was to check the video. What he saw was a longer swing, perhaps resulting in those unproductive at-bats, including chasing pitches in the dirt.
"If my approach is right and my game plan going in there is the same, then something else might be up," he said. "I did look at a little video, and my swing might have gotten a little long. Today I tried to shorten it up and maybe not miss a couple of those pitches that I did yesterday and previous days."
His first time up against Seattle Mariners starter Blake Beaven, he hit the first pitch he saw over the fence in right-center field. In the fifth, facing an 0-and-2 count, he drove another homer to center with Albert Pujols on base.
"Mark understands you're not always going to smell the roses," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "There's going to be some games that are going to be tough. He had one yesterday, but he bounced back and had a big one tonight."
Trumbo's two homers, the first multi-homer games of his career, helped stake rookie starter Garrett Richards to a 4-0 lead after three innings. Richards, starting in place of injured Jered Weaver, allowed just one run in seven innings and picked up his first big-league victory in a 6-1 win.
"It doesn't feel real right now," Richards said. "It's kind of like one of those things that I'll recognize the next day."
Richards' performance came one night after Ervin Santana staggered through another poor effort, allowing seven runs in 4 2/3 innings to the Mariners and giving up his 16th home run of the season.
If Richards follows up Tuesday's game with another similar start, and if Santana has another unsightly performance, would Scioscia consider pulling Santana out of the rotation? It doesn't seem likely, but it also isn't beyond consideration.
"I'm here to help these guys win," Richards said, "but I also want to show them what I can do."
He did that. And so did Trumbo.