Was it a playoff preview . . . or a postseason playback?
There was something frighteningly familiar for the Angels about their 10-7 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Monday night at Angel Stadium.
Their starting pitcher couldn't measure up to one of the best in the American League. Their hitters were neither timely nor clutch until the game was out of reach.
The result was predictably disappointing for a franchise that has dropped four of its last five playoff series since winning the 2002 World Series.
The Angels still lead Texas by five games in the American League West, but a few trends aren't encouraging for a team that has lost four of its last five games.
One of the most prolific offenses in the major leagues isn't coming through when it matters most.
"It changes the whole dynamics being down 10-1," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "It's a tough spot to be in."
The Angels went hitless in their first six at-bats with runners in scoring position, finally delivering after Jered Weaver and two relievers had dropped them into a 10-0 hole.
Bobby Abreu's two-out, three-run homer in the eighth inning made it 10-7, and the Angels brought the potential tying run to the plate after Torii Hunter singled and Vladimir Guerrero doubled.
But Detroit reliever Fernando Rodney got Juan Rivera to ground out softly to second baseman Placido Polanco, ending the Angels' final threat. Rodney struck out two batters during a perfect ninth.
The Angels finished four for 14 with runners in scoring position and are batting only .235 in that situation over their last seven games. Their .307 average with runners in scoring position for the season still leads the major leagues.
Weaver (13-5) was roughed up for the second time in his last three starts. Typically dominant at home, the right-hander surrendered eight hits and five runs in 5 1/3 innings.
Slugger Miguel Cabrera, the big bat the Angels coveted but couldn't land two years ago, hit a two-run homer to give Detroit a 3-0 lead in the fifth inning, and Weaver was finished after allowing two of the first three batters to reach base in the sixth.
The bullpen failed to keep the deficit manageable. Darren Oliver surrendered a run-scoring single to Curtis Granderson, the only batter he faced, and Jose Arredondo gave up four runs in two-thirds of an inning.
"It was disappointing to see the end score and know that one inning got away from us," Weaver said. "If we keep them off the bases in the sixth inning, it's a completely different situation."
Detroit starter Justin Verlander (14-7) took a 10-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth . . . and couldn't make it to the seventh. Seven of the first eight batters in the inning reached base, with Hunter, Kendry Morales, Maicer Izturis and Erick Aybar each driving in runs before reliever Bobby Seay averted further calamity.
The most damage inflicted by an Angels bat before the four-run outburst came in the fourth inning, when a foul tip off the bat of Guerrero caught home plate umpire Tim Welke on the mask and eventually forced him out of the game. Second base umpire Mark Carlson moved behind the plate as part of a three-man crew for the remainder of the game.
Angels reliever Rafael Rodriguez had to leave in the seventh after Ramon Santiago's comebacker hit him on his pitching hand, leaving a bruise.
Scioscia said Rodriguez would be sidelined for at least a couple of days.