ANAHEIM -- Sure, all athletes care. But you'd be hard-pressed to find one who cares more than Angels outfielder Mark Trumbo, a diligent worker who has a very tough time dealing with failure. It's what helped him go from an 18th-round Draft pick in 2004 to one of this game's mightiest sluggers in 2012.
But it's times like these, while riding a slump that has now extended a month, when over-thinking and over-working can prove to be quite the hindrance.
It's times like these when it's possible to try too hard.
"Of course," Trumbo said. "Of course, because you care. And everyone who enjoys what they're doing, and wants to be good at it and be good at it for a long time, you're going to spin the wheels a lot. That's just the nature of what we do."
Trumbo, an All-Star and the American League leader in slugging percentage as recently as July 26, had just nine hits in his previous 55 at-bats heading into Wednesday's game. Over his last 24 contests, he's gone 19-for-92 (a .207 batting average), hit three home runs, lost his place as the full-time cleanup hitter and seen his batting average drop from .311 to .287.
"What I am always concerned about is whether I'm driving the ball, and that I haven't been doing a very good job of," said Trumbo, starting at first base in place of Albert Pujols for the series finale against the Indians. "In that regard, that's why it's been kind of hard for me."
Slump or not, Trumbo has already taken major strides since last season -- a year that nonetheless placed him second in American League Rookie of the Year voting. In 138 fewer plate appearances, he's already matched his home run total (29), surpassed his walk total (25 to 29) and currently sports an on-base percentage that's 49 points higher (.291 to .340).
These are the times when Trumbo wants to remind himself of things like that.
"I go out there with a positive mindset," Trumbo said. "I understand that I've done it before, and I'm going to do it again. How soon I'm going to start producing again like I know I'm capable of, I don't know. But everything that I could possibly do to give myself a chance for success, I've been doing."