CLEVELAND -- At the top of their rotation, the Angels have two All-Stars in Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson. After that, they have ... well, not much.
And the situation is getting more dire with each passing game.
On Wednesday, just hours after Dan Haren and his balky back moved a big step closer to joining Jerome Williams on the disabled list, Ervin Santana became the latest member of the rotation to self-destruct, giving up eight runs in 1 1/3 innings of a 12-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians.
But other than pining for the good ol' days, Manager Mike Scioscia isn't sure what to do about it.
"When you have depth in the rotation, it's a nice position to be in. And right now we're a little bit thin," he said. "We've got some guys that are struggling and some guys that are hurt. We need to reestablish that depth."
Until they do, expect the chasm separating Weaver and Wilson from the rest of the rotation to keep widening.
Weaver and Wilson are a combined 18-5 with a 2.24 earned-run average. The rest of the rotation is 18-23 with a 4.79 ERA.
The Angels have lost only seven of 31 games started by Weaver and Wilson. They've lost 30 of 51 games started by everyone else.
And although neither Weaver nor Wilson has lost since May 17, Santana is 2-3 with a 7.25 ERA and Haren is 5-4 with a 4.79 ERA over that same span. Even the rotation's last hope for stability, rookie Garrett Richards, hit a speed bump his last time out when he gave up a career-high 10 runs in 4 1/3 innings.
As a result, the bar of expectation was set pretty low when Santana took the mound Wednesday — but even then he couldn't clear it, retiring four of the 13 batters he faced. If there was a turning point — other than the national anthem — it was Santana's 11-pitch battle with Travis Hafner with two out in the first. After fouling off five two-strike pitches, Hafner walked and Michael Brantley followed with a three-run homer.
Five of the six batters Santana faced in the second inning also scored, ending the right-hander's shortest outing since May 2009 and leaving the Angels to limp home having lost four of nine on their final trip of the first half.
"It is a little bit frustrating, because as a pitcher you want to do good every time," said Santana (4-9). "But you have to realize, too, that nobody's perfect. I know every time I go to the mound, I want to win. I'm always thinking positive."
The power of positive thinking doesn't always work though. Through the first 77 games of the season, the Angels gave up11 or more runs in a game twice. They matched that in the last five days.
"You need five guys to go out there just like a well-oiled machine if you're going to reach your goal," Scioscia said. "This rotation has the potential to be something special. And we need some guys to start pulling their end of it."