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Lengthy wins drought belies Nolasco's ability

MLB.com @mi_guardado

NEW YORK -- It's been nearly two months since the Angels have won a game started by Ricky Nolasco.

That streak continued on Wednesday night, as Nolasco was charged with five runs over 5 1/3 innings in the Halos' 8-4 loss to the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. The 34-year-old right-hander is now winless in 10 consecutive starts dating to April 27.

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NEW YORK -- It's been nearly two months since the Angels have won a game started by Ricky Nolasco.

That streak continued on Wednesday night, as Nolasco was charged with five runs over 5 1/3 innings in the Halos' 8-4 loss to the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. The 34-year-old right-hander is now winless in 10 consecutive starts dating to April 27.

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While Nolasco has logged a 5.79 ERA over that span, his performance on the mound has not been the sole reason for his lack of victories. The Angels have averaged just 2.8 runs of support in games started by Nolasco this season, the fewest in the Majors.

"I think there were a number of starts where you're talking about lack of support," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I don't think we've lost every game that Ricky's pitched because he's pitched poorly. There's games where he's definitely given us chances to win, so you don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater as you sort this out."

One of the primary culprits for Nolasco's struggles this year has been his inability to limit home runs, an issue that once again plagued him on Wednesday. The Yankees hit two homers off Nolasco, bringing his season total to 23, the most in the American League.

Video: LAA@NYY: Gregorius crushes two-run shot to right

In the second inning, Nolasco surrendered a two-run drive to Didi Gregorius, who took advantage of the short porch in right field to give New York a 2-0 lead. Gregorius' homer had an exit velocity of 91.5 mph and a launch angle of 36 degrees; similarly batted balls have gone for homers only 3 percent of the time, according to Statcast™.

"Any other park, obviously, it's not out," Nolasco said. "Anything that kind of gets up in the air to right field, you kind of hold your breath. But that's the park. He did a good job of putting it there, and it went out."

Nolasco also gave up a solo home run to Matt Holliday in the fifth that snapped a 2-2 tie. Despite the homers and five walks he allowed, Nolasco departed the game in the sixth with the Angels still within one run. He was relieved by Mike Morin, who permitted a two-run double to Austin Romine that allowed two inherited runners to score.

"He got us to a certain point," Scioscia said. "Unfortunately, it unraveled a little bit in the sixth, but he definitely gave us a chance. We just didn't get anything going offensively early enough."

Despite Nolasco's disappointing results, the Angels are still hopeful that he'll be able to turn things around and recapture the form that he displayed last September, when he recorded a 1.47 ERA over his final six starts.

"We saw him really good at the end of the year, and he's not too far removed from that," Scioscia said. "In the spring, he threw the ball very well. I think at times this year, we saw some of the flashes you saw at the end of last year. Ricky has been a good Major League starting pitcher. … He's working hard toward it. We have a lot of confidence that he's going to find that."

With three starters -- Matt Shoemaker, Tyler Skaggs and Garrett Richards -- on the disabled list, the Angels likely have no choice but to stick with Nolasco and hope that he manages to get back on track.

"I'm always positive," Nolasco said. "Always going to keep grinding, no matter what. However many I win or lose, I'm the same guy. I'm going to go out there every fifth day and keep battling and grinding like I'm undefeated. All I can do is just stay positive and keep going forward."

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

Los Angeles Angels, Ricky Nolasco