There are only nine and a half years left in the Albert Pujols era with the Angels, so Friday seemed like a good time to sit down and talk.

The agony of April, for both Pujols and the Angels, has turned into mostly happy summer days. They are about where everybody expected come the All-Star break, which is chasing down the talented Rangers in the AL West and, failing that, nicely positioned for a wild card spot.

They have become experts at finding different ways to articulate the standard baseball cliche about a season that is a marathon, not a sprint. That has served them well in a regular season that began as if they'd forgotten to pack their cleats.

Manager Mike Scioscia says he's more interested in performance than numerical measures.

"It's not who we are playing or where we are playing," he says, "but how we are playing. That's more important than the standings right now."

Second baseman Howie Kendrick says the same thing, differently.

"How can you not be happy the way we are playing now?" he says. "A lot of people won't even remember what happened in the first half."

Pitching star Jered Weaver says: "This is how we expected to play right out of spring training. Our heads are in the right spot now."

Pujols, in a relaxed mood hours before the game with the Orioles, keynotes this team perspective.