Angels slugger Mark Trumbo is congratulated by second baseman Howie Kendrick… (Jeff Gross / Getty Images )
With home runs in five of his last seven games, Mark Trumbo of the Angels is on quite a hot streak. Just don't call him on it.
"I don't want to be labeled as that type of player. A peaks-and-valleys guy," said Trumbo, who is striving to become "a steady contributor."
His track record tells another story, though. Trumbo didn't hit a home run in a team-high 74 at-bats during spring training and had only two in 24 regular-season games before going on the recent tear that gave him the team lead in home runs with eight. And last year, when he led the club with 32, he had one streak in which he homered five times in six games and another where he homered in four consecutive games.
BOX SCORE: Baltimore 8, Angels 4
"I'd like to be as consistent as I can be. And I understand that some times are better than others," he said. "But it's like getting labeled as a BP hitter. It's not very cool either. You want to be a consistent presence."
Winning is fundamental
Sound fundamentals were a hallmark of the Angels teams that reached the playoffs from 2007 to 2009. So the fact that the team is not doing the little things well is a big reason for its dismal start this year.
The Angels have made 20 outs on the basepaths and began Sunday's game leading the American League in that category. They've also been caught stealing eight times, which is second-most in the AL, and that doesn't even count the extra outs they've given up by grounding into 34 double plays, second-most in the league.
They lead the league with 23 errors and 129 walks, and after throwing out one of three would-be basestealers Sunday, they've caught only four of 27 runners.
"A number of those caught stealings have been misexecuted hit-and-runs, which is not characteristic of this group of guys," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "As we hopefully move forward, that situational look will reappear.
"On the defensive side, it's tough to evaluate what was happening when you're missing your left side of your infield. Alberto [Callaspo] and Erick [Aybar] are special players on the left side. There's no doubt defense is going be an asset and a plus for us. And that is an important part of what our pitchers need too."
Albert Pujols sits
After playing first base in eight of the Angels' last 10 games, including two extra-inning affairs, Albert Pujols was forced to take Sunday off because of the painful plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Pujols hit only .186 in those 10 games and was two for 12 on the homestand.
"He had some different forms of treatment [Saturday]," Scioscia said. "It's just a good time right now to get him to maybe kick it up a notch and hopefully get him ready on Tuesday."
Ryan Madson came out of Saturday's bullpen session without problems. Scioscia said Madson is likely to throw another bullpen Tuesday in Houston and could begin a rehab assignment this week. ... Kevin Jepsen played catch on flat ground for the fourth consecutive day Sunday and hopes to get on a mound during the team's six-game trip. ... Mark Lowe made his third rehab appearance Sunday for Class-A Inland Empire, giving up a run and a hit in two innings. He is expected to be reactivated from the disabled list Tuesday.