ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. — Mike Scioscia waited patiently for his pitching staff to get healthy. He waited for his offense to jell and for his bullpen to come together.
But Thursday, Scioscia's patience ran out.
After another in a long line of games in which his sloppy team made mistakes in the field, on the basepaths and on the mound, the Angels' manager said he was done waiting and threatened to take action if things don't turn around soon.
"That's a bad game," a grim-faced Scioscia said after watching his team get blitzed, 11-1, by the Tampa Bay Rays. "We need to get better. We need to play with consistency. And if it's the guys in that [clubhouse] that aren't going to do it, then we're going to have to look at some changes."
The Angels took themselves out of two innings with blunders on the bases, fueled a Rays rally with a pair of fielding mistakes and managed to score only one run despite drawing a season-high eight walks. And after getting home runs from Carlos Pena, Evan Longoria, Dioner Navarro and Carl Crawford, the Rays had as many homers as the Angels had hits.
Mix in a dismal effort on the mound -- this one by Ervin Santana, who gave up six runs in 4 2/3 innings and has given up 22 runs in his last 19 2/3 innings -- and it becomes easy to see how the Angels have lost four of their last five games, falling to .500 on the season and into a tie for second in the American League West, 4 1/2 games behind the Texas Rangers.
But while the Angels' deficiencies are easy to spot, identifying solutions isn't as simple.
"We need to dig a little deeper as a team," outfielder Torii Hunter offered. "It's there, man. The last couple of days, I don't know what it is. I don't want to have excuses.
"[But] you have to leave it all on the field. And the last couple of days, we haven't been doing that."
Hunter said the team's' recent slide into mediocrity has been the most difficult period in his short time with the Angels.
"Offense. The pitching. Everything is just wrong," he said, speaking just above a whisper in the team's silent clubhouse. "It's very frustrating. We just need to pump ourselves up. I can't explain it. I have no excuses. But we need to do better."
Third baseman Chone Figgins agreed.
"We're just inconsistent right now. On both sides of the ball," he said. "I think that's frustrating for all of us."
Especially for Scioscia, who held a brief but terse closed-door meeting in which he vowed to shake things up.
"Yes, I delivered that message," said Scioscia, who refused to be more specific.
"The season's not over. We've got a lot of baseball left," he continued. "But until we become the team that we are, all it is is potential. Potential's not going to get you anywhere. You need to perform. And we're failing miserably in many areas.
"When there are options that come up that are better, we will make moves."
Hunter and Figgins said they also remain confident the Angels can right the ship and rejoin the playoff hunt. But that won't happen if the team keeps playing the way it has been.
"We just need to pick it up a notch and take it to another level," Hunter said.
"One night I feel like we can pitch with anybody, hit with anybody. And the next it's like we can't. I don't know what it is. I can't put a finger on it.
"You shouldn't make as many mistakes as we've been making. That's when you come up with a question like 'What's going on?' "
And that's a question Scioscia has lost his patience trying to answer.