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Greinke impresses, fans eight in Angels debut

The rotation Zack Greinke was supposed to solidify after his July 27 trade from the Brewers to the Angels instead has crumbled in August.

The month's first nine starts made by someone other than Jered Weaver resulted in a 6.88 ERA, and Greinke hasn't made the impact the Angels envisioned, going 0-1 with a 5.68 ERA for his new team. Manager Mike Scioscia is surprised by his rotation's performance, not just since Greinke's arrival, but since Opening Day.

"I don't think you have to go back to the Greinke trade. I think if we were talking about this in Spring Training, we'd be surprised to see some of the numbers that would project our rotation to have," said Scioscia, whose starters carried a 4.09 ERA into Monday's game. "Our guys all threw the ball well in spring, felt very good starting the season and some guys have certainly had a rough go. That's the game of baseball. You don't have that crystal ball. You can project all you want, but it comes down to guys bringing their talent onto the field."

C.J. Wilson turned in a quality start in Monday's 6-2 loss to the Indians in the series opener at Angel Stadium, but the Angels still lost for the ninth time in 12 games as they struggle to maintain a foothold in the playoff race. Greinke is next in line to stop the bleeding, as he will start on Tuesday night against Ubaldo Jimenez and the Indians, who are 4-2 since an 11-game losing streak.

Greinke's last outing came against Oakland on Wednesday, when he gave up four runs in five innings and took a no-decision. All of the runs, as well as each of his season-high five walks, came in the second inning. Greinke battled his fastball command and threw only 59 of 103 pitches for strikes

"It got a little bit better after the second, but still wasn't good," Greinke said. "I definitely need to pitch better. They played a good game behind me today, helped keep the damage less than it could have been. It was just one of the worst I could control in my career pretty much."

Jimenez's most recent start produced a vastly different result, with the right-hander striking out 10 and walking one in seven innings against the Red Sox on Thursday. He gave up three runs on eight hits and moved to 9-11 for the season with a 5.25 ERA.

The strikeout total matched Jimenez's best in his 34 starts for the Indians, and he walked one or no batters for the fourth time in 23 starts this season.

"Great job by Ubaldo," manager Manny Acta said. "That's the most aggressive I've seen him here with his fastball and probably the best command of his fastball that he has shown so far. He was just dotting it to both sides of the plate."

Indians: Kipnis gets back on the field
Second baseman Jason Kipnis is scheduled to return to the starting lineup on Tuesday after appearing as a pinch-hitter on Monday. Batting with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, Kipnis smacked a long sacrifice fly to center field.

Jason Donald has started the past five games at second, with Kipnis battling neck pain.

Kipnis is hitting .258 with a .721 OPS, 11 homers and 23 stolen bases. He had struggled in his previous 11 games, going 4-for-39 (.103) with one extra-base hit.

• When reliever Vinny Pestano served up a two-run homer to Albert Pujols on Monday, it snapped his streak of 21 consecutive scoreless innings, the longest by a Cleveland reliever since Paul Assenmacher's 23 1/3 shutout frames in 1997. Pestano's ERA this season still sits at 1.56.

Angels: Division deficit not the focus
Monday began with the Angels sitting third in the American League West, eight games behind the Rangers, and that's where they remain after both clubs lost. It's a large lead for Texas and not one Scioscia is keen on worrying about.

"I think it's important not to look at that gap," he said. "I think that's the focus -- don't look at the gap, just look at the game at hand. I think it's very clear that if you have an objective, you want to concentrate on the process, and I think our goal is just very clear and we need to concentrate on the process and how we're going to get it."

The Angels lost a half-game to the idle Orioles and now sit 2 1/2 out of the league's second Wild Card spot, also trailing the A's and Tigers. Scioscia's club went 49-32 from May through July to overcome its early struggles, but he disputed the notion that the Angels are hitting a wall.

"We won those games because we started doing things on the field that we needed to," he said. "I don't think it took anything out of us to get out of that hole. We were just playing the way we can. It's not like we were losing so you had to play in the loser's bracket and play more games."

Worth noting
• The Indians are 5-2 against the Angels this season.

• Jimenez gave up three runs on eight hits in 7 2/3 innings against the Angels on July 2, striking out four and walking four.

• Greinke, a former Royals ace, has faced the Indians more than any other team, posting a 3.80 ERA in 27 outings. He last faced them in 2010.

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