Angels' arms starting to struggle

ANAEHIM -- The Los Angeles Angels traded for Zack Greinke in an effort to bolster their pitching staff and give them a big four rotation that could match arms with anyone in baseball.

Instead, he seems to have had the opposite effect on the Angels.

Greinke, the 2009 Cy Young Award winner, came to the Angels July 27 and joined a stable of quality arms that includes Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and C.J. Wilson.

But the rotation has been mostly a flop since Greinke’s arrival. The Angels starters are 6-9 since he joined the team and the big four are 4-9. The Angels' staff has a 6.76 ERA in August -- the highest in baseball.

“We have some good pitchers that are not performing to their capabilities and that’s been going on for some time,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “I think it’s pretty easy to evaluate that. Now the other aspect is to try to fix it, and that’s where we are right now.”

With the loss Sunday, Greinke dropped to 1-2 with a 6.19 ERA since coming over from the Milwaukee. He has given up six or more hits in each of his five starts with the Angels and has given up six, four, four and six earned runs in his past four starts.

“Overall, I’m just not pitching good since I’ve been here,” Greinke said. “I just need to get back on track. I’ve been pretty awful and it doesn’t feel good.”

Greinke couldn’t pinpoint exactly what was going wrong for him. He looked good at times Sunday, but missed spots at other times and got into bad counts. He acknowledged trying to be too perfect, and as a result he tied a season-high four walks.

He said watching Tampa Bay’s David Price pitch seven shutout innings against the Angels on Thursday made him want to try to match the southpaw’s performance.

“I’m maybe trying to be nastier than I should be,” Greinke said. “It’s been very embarrassing the first month I’ve been here. I’m getting paid a lot to do better than I’m doing. It’s not acceptable, really.”

Greinke is by no means the only struggling Angels starter. Haren is 1-2 with a 5.68 ERA since Greinke’s arrival and has not gotten out of the fourth inning in his past two starts.

Wilson, an All-Star after going 9-5 with a 2.43 ERA in the first half, is 0-3 with a 6.90 ERA in his five starts since Grienke’s arrival. Even the dependable Weaver, a Cy Young award candidate, is a pedestrian 2-2 with a 4.97 ERA since Greinke joined the team.

That the staff has struggled since Greinke’s arrival is merely coincidence, but that it is struggling is still a major issue. The Tampa Bay Rays outscored the Angels, 37-14 during a four-game series that ended Sunday.

Greinke gave up six runs in six innings and had the best outing of any Angels starter in the four games. Haren went 3 2/3 on Thursday, Weaver lasted only three on Friday and Wilson exited after 4 2/3 on Sunday.

“I don’t see guys putting too much pressure on themselves,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “I just see guys out of rhythm and not executing pitches. Just struggling to command counts and it’s hurt us for quite some time now.”