The Angels dusted off the turntable Sunday and gave their broken record another spin, Zack Greinke serving as disc jockey for the latest in a string of shoddy starts by baseball's most underachieving rotation.
Greinke, considered the piece that would elevate the Angels to World Series contenders when he was acquired from Milwaukee on July 27, was roughed up for six runs and seven hits in six innings of an 8-3 loss to Tampa Bay, the Rays completing a four-game sweep in Angel Stadium.
The Angels (62-60) have lost 13 of 18 to fall nine games behind Texas in the American League West and 4 1/2 games behind Baltimore for the second wild-card spot, and their once-vaunted rotation has been the anchor pulling them toward the bottom of the division.
Greinke, Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, C.J. Wilson, Ervin Santana and Garrett Richards for one start have combined to go 3-7 with a 6.53 earned-run average in 18 August starts, giving up 75 runs and 22 homers in 103 1/3 innings.
Greinke, the 2009 American League Cy Young Award winner who is often described as a "bulldog," has had little bite as an Angel, going 1-2 with a 6.19 ERA in five starts, giving up 22 runs and 38 hits, including five homers, in 32 innings.
"It's been a very embarrassing first month here," said Greinke, who is doing little to boost his free-agent value. "I'm getting paid a lot to do better than I'm doing. I've been pretty awful. This is not good. It's not acceptable."
The right-hander put the Angels in an early hole Sunday, giving up four runs in a second inning in which much of the damage was self-inflicted.
Ryan Roberts and Sean Rodriguez singled with one out, but Greinke walked Jose Molina to load the bases, hit No. 9 batter Elliot Johnson with a pitch to force in a run and walked B.J. Upton to force in a run. Matt Joyce capped the rally with a two-run single.
"I think I'm trying to be too good," Greinke said. "I'm trying to be nastier than I have to be. I just have to pitch my game, not try to do more."
Greinke isn't the only one pressing. Mike Trout hit a solo homer in the fourth, his 24th of the season, but with two out and the bases loaded in the fifth, he pulled his "head off a little bit" on a 2-and-0 changeup from Matt Moore and hit a weak fly to center.
Albert Pujols hit a solo homer in the sixth, his 28th, but the Angels managed only seven hits against Moore and three relievers.
"You can see everyone pressing," catcher Bobby Wilson said. "When stuff's going bad, you try and you try. Sometimes you have to back off and try to enjoy the game again. Everyone is trying to carry the team on their shoulders. When you have 25 guys trying to do that, it can be tough."
The Angels were outscored 37-14 in the series and blew an eight-run, third-inning lead Saturday night in a 10-8 loss.
"They took it to us," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "We didn't give ourselves a chance in any game except Saturday. There are times during the season when you don't think you'll ever lose another game and times you don't think you'll win another. Right now, we're at the latter. We need to find a way to push through."
As bad as the Angels are playing, it doesn't compare to the first six weeks of the season, when they were 18-25 and were shut out eight times.
"It feels like someone has a little voodoo doll and has been messing with us," right fielder Torii Hunter said. "The first six weeks, we didn't even play. Now, we've had a lot of bad luck."