A's hand Angels eighth shutout

A's hand Angels eighth shutout

A's hand Angels eighth shutout
ANAHEIM -- Eight shutouts in 36 games.

That's what the Angels stared right in the face of on Monday night, after getting blanked by yet another uncelebrated starting pitcher. This time it was Tyson Ross, the A's right-hander who navigated through six scoreless frames as the Halos' often-anemic offense went listlessly into the night, rolling over after yet another early deficit, generating little power and failing to do much situational hitting in a 5-0 loss at Angel Stadium.

On many occasions, the Angels will give credit to the opposing starter on nights like these.

But they're quickly running out of caps to tip.

"This team's too good to be shut out the way we've been shut out this year," manager Mike Scioscia said of his 15-21 ballclub, "especially the way we can manufacture."

If eight shutouts in mid-May seem like a lot, it is. It's not only the most in the Major Leagues, it's double what anybody else in baseball has put up. And it's not only the most the Angels have been shut out through the first 36 games in club history -- no team has had more through that span since the 1907 Brooklyn Superbas (now the Dodgers), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

"That's a lot of shutouts," left fielder Vernon Wells said. "Obviously, it's not something you expect, especially at this point in the season. We haven't played that many games to have that many shutouts."

The Angels are frustrated -- tough not to be -- and that was evident in the series opener, which came after dropping two of three to the American League West-rival Rangers in Texas.

You see it in the amount of hitters in the lineup trying to do too much, eventually going 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and actually doing very little. You see it in the way Dan Haren uncharacteristically nibbles at corners, en route to giving up four runs on four walks and six hits in six innings. And you see it in the regularity of boos from the 32,851 in attendance.

Afterward, Scioscia talked about trying to "temper the frustrations" in the clubhouse. He said those frustrations aren't coming from Albert Pujols, who's batting .197 -- with only one home run and 12 RBIs -- after a 1-for-4 night.

But it's coming from several others around him.

"He may be a bit frustrated that he's not hitting, but he's a professional, he understands, and I think he understands how to temper it," Scioscia said. "But there are some guys there that I think are trying to carry a little too much than they have to, and that's what you have to really work to keep at a minimum.

"This is a frustrating time right now. We're trying to temper some of the frustration in there with guys understanding they're good and this will turn."

The Angels have now scored three runs or fewer on 18 occasions this year (getting only one win in the process), are 0-16 when trailing after seven innings and are 2-16 when not scoring first. They haven't come back on a team in the ninth, they haven't forced extra innings and they haven't celebrated any walk-offs.

In short, they've rarely showed much life.

"You can look at all the categories, and it's really just an effect of not being where we need to be on the offensive side," Scioscia said. "How do you explain being shut out? We're not swinging it well. How do you explain not coming back? How do you explain maybe some of the bullpen issues? Well, we haven't set up games the way we need to. I think a lot of that comes from the fact we haven't had that offensive continuity, and we need to start moving in that direction."

By scattering five hits and walking one in his six scoreless frames, Ross joined Henderson Alvarez, Brandon Morrow, David Price, Scott Diamond, Derek Lowe, Hiroki Kuroda and Bartolo Colon -- who they'll face again Tuesday -- in the list of starters who haven't given up a run to the Angels. Only one of them (Price) has ace status, per se.

Sure, the season is long and the Angels have only completed 22 percent of it. But, as Haren said: "It's not early anymore."

It can't be that early. The Angels have already been shut out eight times and are eight games back in the AL West.

"It's going to be a grind," Scioscia said. "There's no such thing in this game as feeling sorry for yourself. There's only one way out of the hole, and that's to crawl inch by inch, pitch by pitch, start to put good at-bats together, lead to good offensive games and move forward. That's what we're going to do."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.