Scioscia vents after Halos get handled
Angels manager hints at changes in wake of finale loss
ST. PETERSBURG -- The only meaningful statement made by a member of the Angels' cast at Tropicana Field on Thursday was delivered by manager Mike Scioscia when he vented in the wake of an 11-1 demolition at the hands of the scorching Rays.
"Well-deserved," Torii Hunter said in reference to the tongue-lashing that followed another kind of lashing fueled by homers from Evan Longoria, Carl Crawford, Dioner Navarro and Carlos Pena.
"That's a bad game," Scioscia said. "None of us are happy about how we went after it tonight, and we need to get better and play with a consistency.
"If guys in that room aren't going to do it, then we're going to have to look at some changes."
If that was the tone and general content of his message to the troops, neither they nor the boss would say.
"There's no magic pill of guys getting healthy, and you're there," Scioscia said, alluding to the return of John Lackey and Ervin Santana to a rotation that has lost Kelvim Escobar because of right shoulder issues. "It's an ongoing thing ... and we're failing miserably in many areas.
"Where there are options that come up better, we will make moves."
The injection of power bats such as Brandon Wood and Sean Rodriguez, who have been slugging away at Triple-A Salt Lake, could be one direction to pursue. But that's mere speculation at this point.
The silence in the clubhouse -- no flatscreens on, no music, barely a whisper -- spoke volumes in the wake of a loss and a lecture.
"You never like to lose, but if you're going to lose ... lose the right way, not like that," Hunter said, running through a laundry list of deficiencies shown of late by a club that in no way resembles the 100-win outfit of one year ago.
Falling to .500 and now sharing second place with the Mariners behind American League West-leading Texas, the Angels return home for a three-game Interleague series against the Padres opening on Friday night at Angel Stadium.
The next 15 games on the Angels' schedule are with National League West teams, which could serve as a tonic if they raise their level of play.
"This is probably the worst as far as defense, offense, pitching ... everything is just wrong," Hunter said. "It's very frustrating. We just need to pump ourselves up, be more aggressive."
A 4-5 road trip through two countries and three cities was an honest reflection of the season: the good, the bad and the ugly, with ups (three straight wins) and downs (losses in four of the past five).
Santana (1-3) was unable to make it through the fifth inning in taking the loss in the finale. Grant Balfour (3-1) claimed the win with young David Price's wildness (six walks, six strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings) preventing him from getting through the fifth.
"A lot of guys in that room are playing hard and some guys need to play better," Scioscia said. "Until we can become the team that we are, all that is, is potential. Potential's not going to get you anywhere. You need to perform."
Right now, the Angels couldn't be any more ordinary. Their record -- 29 wins, 29 losses -- is the very definition of mediocrity. They're 14-12 at home, 15-17 on the road, and they're 9-12 against their own division, which is not as weak as many critics suggest.
Price escaped a bases-loaded predicament in the first inning, but the 32 pitches he needed to escape would cost him. He was unable to get through the fifth for the win despite owning a 4-0 lead.
The Rays struck in the second against Santana with Ben Zobrist's double and a two-out RBI single by Gabe Gross. They added a run in the third on two singles, a hit batsman and Pena's sacrifice fly. A pair of runs arrived in the fourth on Navarro's two-run double, and the fifth was Santana's undoing.
"They're very aggressive," Santana said. "They were hitting some good pitches."
Santana was gone soon after Longoria launched his 14th homer, yielding six earned runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Hunter slashed an RBI single to get the Angels on the board in the fifth, but Vladimir Guerrero lined into a double play to end the inning and there was barely a whimper after that.
Making his first appearance out of the bullpen since back issues flared up in mid-April, Kevin Jepsen gave Scioscia something to feel good about. The big right-hander delivered four outs, two on strikeouts, while yielding one hit.
Rich Thompson, who'd pitched so effectively on Wednesday night, wasn't as fortunate this time, surrendering homers to Navarro and Pena (No. 19) during a four-run eighth.
It was that kind of night in that kind of season.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.