Angels starting to unravel with latest loss
ANAHEIM – Zack Greinke became the latest high-profile, eight-figure-salaried, All-Star starting pitcher to get rocked by the Tampa Bay Rays when the Angels closed out a disappointing homestand Sunday on the wrong end of a four-game sweep.
The Angels' collapse continued with an 8-3 defeat to the Rays, ending a series in which the Angels were outscored, 37-14, and Angels starters gave up 19 runs.
With 40 games left in the regular season, the Angels (62-60) trail AL West-leading Texas by nine games, their biggest margin since the Angels were 8-15 on April 30. They're also 41/2 games back in the race for the second wild-card spot.
"We talked about where some of the breakdowns have been: We have some good pitchers who are not performing to their capabilities, and that's been going on for some time," Manager Mike Scioscia said.
For the fourth consecutive game, an Angels pitcher from the esteemed starting rotation struggled early and opened the floodgates so wide during a single inning that it was impossible for the Angels to recover.
On Thursday, three-time All-Star right-hander Dan Haren gave up four runs in the fourth inning and lasting only 32/3 innings into a 7-0 loss.
On Friday, three-time All-Star ace right-hander Jered Weaver allowed seven runs in the fourth and lasted three-plus innings of a 12-3 defeat.
On Saturday, two-time All-Star left-hander C.J. Wilson allowed an early 8-0 lead disappear when he relinquished seven runs in the fifth en route to the Rays scoring 10 unanswered runs in their 10-8 conquest. He lasted 4 2/3 innings.
Then on Sunday, the 2009 Cy Young Award-winning right-hander Greinke fell to 1-2 with a 6.19 ERA since joining the Angels on July 27.
"It has been embarrassing the first month I've been here," Greinke said.
He gave up six runs on seven hits and four walks in six innings, his second inning being the most costly.
Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher made his first counseling trip at the mound in the second inning when Greinke loaded the bases on two singles and a walk with one out.
Greinke's next pitch: He plunked the thigh of Elliot Johnson, who was in an 8-for-59 slump, forcing in the Rays' first run.
After coaxing an infield fly out of Desmond Jennings, Greinke walked B.J. Upton, pumping in another run and eliciting boos from the overheated home crowd of 36,789.
It got worse. With two outs and bases still loaded, Matt Joyce dispatched a Greinke fastball into right field for a two-run single that gave the Rays a 4-0 lead. That would be enough as the Angels' inconsistent offense managed just seven hits, including two solo home runs from Mike Trout and Albert Pujols.
"It was a bad inning, but overall I'm not pitching good since I've been here," Greinke said. "I just need to get back on track. It's been pretty awful."