ARLINGTON, Texas — Before his first pitch Wednesday, Jarrod Washburn had a four-run lead and the knowledge that he wouldn't have to face Texas Ranger slugger Juan Gonzalez.
After throwing his last pitch, the Angel ace had nothing more than a particularly disturbing loss.
After surrendering a career-worst 10 runs during the Angels' 12-9 loss to the Rangers at The Ballpark at Arlington, Washburn lashed out at himself for failing to capitalize on his teammates' scoring spree and falling into perhaps the worst slump of his career.
"I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing on the mound right now," said Washburn, who gave up five runs in an inning for the second consecutive start, "so I'm not going to lie and tell you I know how to fix it. I don't know. Something has to change."
Washburn gave up nine hits over 3 1/3 innings, his shortest outing of the season, as the Angels dropped to 1-6 since the All-Star break. The left-hander allowed two home runs, pushing his major league-worst total to 27, balked home a run and committed an error that led to another. He also walked the Rangers' Nos. 8 and 9 hitters during consecutive at-bats.
"I didn't hit a spot all night and made a lot of mistakes," Washburn said, "and every mistake I made they made me pay for. Basically right now, I'm as bad as I could possibly get."
Adam Kennedy, Darin Erstad and Bengie Molina each homered for the Angels, who had 16 hits but also left 10 runners on base and fell behind for good after the Rangers scored five runs off Washburn in the second inning.
"He didn't have his command and he ended up going to a slider and a changeup a lot, and that's not his game," said Ranger left fielder Shane Spencer, whose three-run homer in the fourth completed the scoring against Washburn. "He had a tough time."
Even the most dominant starting pitchers endure a rough outing from time to time, but Washburn's recent struggles have constituted an unsettling trend.
He is 2-4 over his last eight starts, averaging 5 2/3 innings per start, after averaging seven innings over his first 13.
"Right now I can't get guys out," said Washburn, who insisted that he is physically sound. "It's a combination of a lot of things."
Angel Manager Mike Scioscia said Washburn was falling behind in too many counts and Molina suggested the pitcher was suffering from reduced velocity and a tendency to throw pitches intended for the inside portion of the plate over the middle.
"I haven't seen him like this," Molina said. "Hopefully, we can figure something out quick."
The Angels (50-49) are starting to feel the same way about the pennant race after falling 10 1/2 games behind Seattle in the American League West. They are in fourth place in the wild-card standings, 9 1/2 games behind Boston.
"There's still time to get it going," said Erstad, whose homer to lead off the sixth inning was the 100th of his career. "We're going to have to do that pretty quickly or it's not going to mean much."
The Angels are going to have to collect themselves -- for a while, at least -- without third baseman Troy Glaus.
The Angels and Rangers removed a combined 40 homers and 120 runs batted in of production from their lineups before the game when they put Glaus and Gonzalez on the disabled list, Glaus with a contusion in his right shoulder and Gonzalez with a strained right calf.
But instead of falling into an offensive lull, the teams combined for 29 hits, 13 by the Rangers.
Texas took the lead during its five-run second when Donnie Sadler scored on a sacrifice fly, prompting the 24,093 Ranger fans to bang blue noise sticks together.
Garret Anderson extended his season-high hitting streak to 15 games with a single to right in the second and Jeff DaVanon had three hits, including a run-scoring single during the Angels' four-run first. In the end, the offensive outburst meant little.
"Any time you have the lead and let it go it's frustrating," Washburn said. "Whether we had the lead or not, it's still my job to get guys out and I didn't."