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Angels continue to struggle, swept by Astros again, 10-4

Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros steals second base in the first inning ahead of a throw to Angels second baseman Johnny Giavotella at Angel Stadium.
(Kent Horner / Getty Images)

Mike Scioscia had seen enough. The Angels manager kept the clubhouse doors closed for more than 20 minutes after his team’s latest loss, reminding his undermanned but still underperforming troops of their mission.

“We need to get better,” Scioscia said.

The last-place Angels are 19 games behind the first-place Texas Rangers in the American League West. They have not been so far out of first place so soon since 2001, the year the Seattle Mariners won 116 games.

The Angels won eight games in June, their lowest total in the month since 1980, when Frank Tanana was the ace.

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The Angels lost 95 games that year, tied for the franchise record. For now, anyway, this year’s Angels are on pace to lose 96.

The Houston Astros thumped the Angels on Wednesday, 10-4, completing their second sweep of the Angels in 10 days. The Angels have lost nine of 10 games.

After the defeat, and after the team meeting, Scioscia and his players emphasized that effort is not the issue. No one, they said, has given up.

“I have played on teams where it’s pretty clear, in the fourth or fifth inning, guys just phone it in,” closer Huston Street said. “No one is doing that in here. Not one person is.”

If the team has not quit, perhaps it is simply not good enough. The Angels have four starters on the disabled list, including ace Garrett Richards and Andrew Heaney, who posted the lowest earned-run average of any Angels starter last season.

“I don’t want to diminish how good Garrett is, or how good Andrew Heaney is,” Scioscia said. “Those two guys were one and two in our rotation. What’s left, the guys in that room, we feel it’s a better team than is reflected in our won-loss record.”

The Angels had their moments Wednesday, and 11 hits. Mike Trout reached base four times. Rookie catcher Jett Bandy hit a home run.

But they had one hit in 11 at-bats with men in scoring position, shortstop Andrelton Simmons made two errors, and the pitchers gave up 12 hits and six walks.

If the Angels cannot win a game, at least they can win what Scioscia called a situation — drive in a runner in scoring position, get a key out on the mound, and so on.

“I don’t think these guys are taking losing in stride,” Scioscia said. “That’s a positive. That has to be tempered with filtering out some of the frustration that can easily creep into a clubhouse, creep into a dugout. ... The results aren’t there, so you have to go back to the process. We need to win situations, starting from the first pitch.”

Starter Jered Weaver endured into the sixth inning; the Astros scored in four of those innings. The Angels bullpen covered the final three innings; the Astros scored in two of them.

Scioscia said the pitchers, particularly the relievers, needed to improve. Two of the current seven relievers — Cam Bedrosian and Rule 5 pickup Deolis Guerra — have an ERA under 4.00.

“The guys that are in that room should be playing better than we are,” Scioscia said.

Until the Angels start playing better, he said, there is no sense in even considering whether the team is good enough to win.

“If we play well,” he said, “and we play well enough and long enough, you find out if you’re championship caliber.”

Right now, even .500 seems far away. The Angels flew far away on Wednesday night, their pitching-poor team headed to Boston for a weekend series against a Red Sox team that leads the major leagues in runs.

“We can’t get everything rolling at the same speed,” Weaver said. “We have one thing one night, we don’t have it the other night.

“Hopefully, this off day gives us a little breather, and we can come into Boston and give ’em hell.”

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

Twitter: @BillShaikin


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