Hamilton back in cleanup spot; Trumbo to six-hole
ANAHEIM -- A surging Josh Hamilton was back in the cleanup spot and a slumping Mark Trumbo was dropped to sixth for Tuesday's series opener against Cardinals right-hander Lance Lynn.
"Josh is moving towards what we hope will be the normal production we expect from a player of his caliber, and he's been swinging the bat much better," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Mark, on the other hand, has been maybe in a little bit of a rough patch. Just take a little pressure off him."
Hamilton, who batted fourth when Mike Trout was out of the lineup on Sunday, hit safely in all six games of an undefeated road trip through Houston and Detroit, going 9-for-21 to raise his batting average from .207 to .223.
Asked if he felt he's turned a corner, Hamilton smiled, mindful of how often that has been the sentiment throughout this struggle-filled season.
"I wouldn't say that," he said. "Give me a month and I'll have a better answer to that question. Right now it's just about coming in and continuing to do the things I've done over the last three or four weeks to feel better at the plate. Keep doing that on a daily basis, and hopefully the pitch recognition will stay and I'll have better at-bats. That's all you want to do, have better on-base and do anything you can to help the team win. That aspect of it feels a lot better."
Trumbo's batting average has dropped 30 points over the last 33 games, a span in which he's batted .200 with a .289 on-base percentage and 29 strikeouts. He entered Tuesday with a .251/.321/.470 slash line, while easily leading the team with 18 home runs.
"I think more than anything, it's just been timing," Trumbo said. "The timing's gotten off. I know it's cliche, but it is enough to set everything else."