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Joel Pineiro tries to escape the '99 club'

In Joel Pineiro's first four starts, he was 2-0 with a 1.97 ERA.

In the four starts since, he's 0-3 with a 5.68 ERA.

Contrary to popular belief, Pineiro said, he's not fixated on picking up his 100th career win, something he's tried and failed to do in five straight starts going back to May 10.

"That first start, I was. After that, I just want to win for the team and put up numbers," Pineiro said. "I don't care if it's 150, 200, whatever. I just want to win and get back on track."

The issue Pineiro has been battling entering tonight's start vs. the Kansas City Royals has to do with his release point and the action he's getting on his sinker, the pitch he throws about two-thirds of of the time. Lately, Pineiro and pitching coach Mike Butcher noticed, the ball has been moving with a side-to-side motion rather than dipping straight down. That has tended to elevate pitches, and they have been hit hard.

Pineiro allowed 22 hits in those first four starts and has allowed 40 since.

* Angels manager Mike Scioscia beckoned veterans Torii Hunter, Vernon Wells and Bobby Abreu into his office about three hours before tonight's game. The theme of the meeting, Scioscia said, was about sharing the burden as middle-of-the-order hitters equally without trying to do too much individually.

Of the three, Abreu's season (.289 average, .400 OBP) is the only one close to his career norms and his power (two home runs) and run production (29 RBIs) are down. The Angels have scored three runs or fewer in nine straight games.

"This not my first time, it's not Scioscia's first time. We’ve had losing streaks, but not like this one," Hunter said. "This one’s different."

Here are the lineups for tonight's game, with Pineiro opposing Kansas City's Felipe Paulino:

Royals

1. Alex Gordon LF

2. Melky Cabrera CF

3. Eric Hosmer 1B

4. Jeff Francoeur RF

5. Billy Butler DH

6. Mike Moustakas 3B

7. Matt Treanor C

8. Chris Getz 2B

9. Alcides Escobar

Angels

1. Maicer Izturis 2B

2. Torii Hunter RF

3. Bobby Abreu LF

4. Vernon Wells CF

5. Alberto Callaspo 3B

6. Howie Kendrick 1B

7. Erick Aybar SS

8. Russell Branyan DH

9. Jeff Mathis C