OAKLAND -- If this were the olden days and rotations required only two starting pitchers, the Angels would be fine right now. Jered Weaver would go one day, C.J. Wilson would go the next, and the cycle would constantly repeat itself. The fact that they can't, and with Jason Vargas out for nearly a month, are the biggest reasons the Angels haven't been able to go on a Dodgers-like run to save their season.
When Weaver, Wilson and Vargas take the mound this season, the Angels are 28-20 (a .583 winning percentage).
With everybody else -- be it Tommy Hanson or Joe Blanton or Garrett Richards or the most recent losing pitcher, Jerome Williams -- the Angels are 20-33 (a .364 winning percentage).
"You need five guys," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said late Friday night, after a 6-4 loss to the A's at O.co Coliseum that returned his club to five games below .500 and 11 games out of first place.
"It's tough to build momentum without the starting five doing what they can do. We need these guys. We need these guys to come out and give us a chance to win when they take the ball. At times it's been a little spotty, but we have to keep going."
Since the start of July, Angels starters not named Weaver or Wilson -- or Vargas, who has missed his last five turns while recovering from surgery to remove a blood clot -- have combined to post an 8.52 ERA, giving up 44 runs in 41 2/3 innings and prompting the Angels to go 2-8.
Williams has been right in the middle of that, going winless since June 12 and posting an 8.37 ERA in his last eight outings.
"It's been tough," Williams said. "But all I can do is look at the positives, not the negatives."
The positive for Williams was that he rebounded in the second meeting of a four-game series, bouncing back after a rough first two innings to give the Angels (48-53) a chance. Had Michael Kohn not given up a two-run, sixth-inning homer to fill-in catcher Stephen Vogt in the sixth, and had the Angels not gone 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position -- particularly Josh Hamilton, who ended the game with a strikeout against Grant Balfour while representing the tying run -- perhaps they win for a second straight time against the first-place A's.
But, as Scioscia said, "We couldn't overcome Jerome not being able to get out of the second inning."
He was one out away, with a 2-1 lead thanks to Mike Trout's first-inning two-run homer off Bartolo Colon, but Williams gave up three straight hits, including an RBI single to Eric Sogard and a two-run single to Jed Lowrie, who hit a solo homer in the first.
"I just didn't execute a couple pitches and that hurt," Williams said. "I just have to minimize the mistakes and look at the positives."
Those minimal mistakes were plenty for Colon, who shut the Angels out from the second to the sixth -- five days after throwing a four-hit shutout at Angel Stadium -- and ultimately moved to 14-3 with a 2.54 ERA in yet another age-defying season.
Colon now has a 1.75 ERA in nine starts against the Angels since 2009.
"I'd be lying if I said I thought he'd be 14-3 right now," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "I probably couldn't say that about anybody. With starters sometimes, the win-loss record sometimes isn't really indicative of how good he is, but to be able to be 14-3 and give us as many quality starts and shutouts, I have a ton of confidence in him."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read 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.