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Angels sweep White Sox as losing skid hits four

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Angels sweep White Sox as losing skid hits four

Sunday, April 17, 2011
Posted: 4:09 p.m. Updated: 4:26 p.m.

Associated Press

Dan Haren has't had a problem following every Jered Weaver masterpiece.

WATCH: Dunn feeling fine but 'stinks'

Haren pitched into the seventh inning for his fourth win of the season, Maicer Izturis had three hits and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Chicago White Sox 4-2 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

Haren (4-0) joined Weaver as the major leagues' first four-game winners. The right-hander allowed two runs on seven hits over 6 13 innings, striking out six and not allowing a walk.

"He's started the series three times and he's set the tone every time," Haren said. "There is a lot of teams with a bunch of good pitchers and we're a few of them. What we hope is that when take the mound our team expects to win. That's how I feel and I feel like when I'm on the mound that the eight other guys with me feel like we're going to win that game."

After initially struggling in the ninth, rookie closer Jordan Walden got Juan Pierre to pop out to left with the bases loaded for his third save in as many opportunities.

Mark Trumbo added a solo shot in the fourth inning off White Sox starter Mark Buehrle (1-1), as Chicago lost its fourth straight game. The White Sox opened their 10-game homestand winning four of the first six, and three of their losses were blown saves by the bullpen.

"In most of the games we were one shot away from winning it, but we didn't," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "The beginning it was the bullpen letting the team down. We're struggling to swing the bat right now. Leaving Chicago, long road trip, those guys will come around and start swinging the bat like we know they can."

Haren retired nine straight White Sox batters until allowing a double to Carlos Quentin in the seventh inning. After an infield hit by Alex Rios, Haren gave up back-to-back run-scoring singles to A.J. Pierzynski and Alexei Ramirez.

Haren had pitched 19 scoreless innings until giving up the two RBI singles.

"He is on a terrific roll. He's not going to throw one-hitters every time out. You can look at a lot of different numbers, but I don't think you need numbers to see how well Dan has been pitching. This guy has been very consistent early on," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

Haren, who has 1.16 ERA, is even surprising himself with his dominance.

"I didn't see it coming," he said. "I felt pretty good in spring. I've done a really good job of keeping the defense in the game, minimizing walks and working ahead in the account. That's my game, nothing fancy. I just pitch my game and hitters adjust to me."

Hisanori Takahashi and Francisco Rodriguez each got one out in the seventh inning and Fernando Rodney pitched a scoreless eighth before turning the game over to Walden.

He gave up a leadoff double to Quentin and walked Rios in the ninth. Pierzynksi moved the runners over on a sacrifice bunt, but Walden rebounded by striking out Ramirez. After issuing a walk to Omar Vizquel, Walden got Pierre to pop out to end the game.

The Angels struck first when Izturis lined Buehrle's fourth pitch of the game down the line in left for a double. Howie Kendrick followed with a hard grounder back at Buehrle, who kicked the ball and misdirected it from Ramirez at shortstop into the outfield for a single. Bobby Abreu struck out before Torii Hunter drove in Izturis on a sacrifice fly.

Izturis doubled again in the third and scored on Abreu's double to make it 2-0.

"He's pitched great for us the second half of last year and even though we're not giving him tons of support those early runs this afternoon were important for him, especially for a guy that pounds the zone," Scioscia said.

Trumbo's homer in the fourth made it 3-0, and Vernon Wells hit a liner off the outfield wall in the sixth. He went to third on the triple and eventually scored on Alberto Callaspo's single.

Scioscia questioned whether Wells' drive was a home run. The umpires reviewed the video and determined the original call was correct.

Buehrle allowed four runs on 10 hits in seven innings. He struck out five and walked two.

"I made a couple mistakes today and they made me pay for it," he said. "Any time you run into Weaver and Haren in two out of three games, it's a tough task at hand."

NOTES

SS Erick Aybar (strained left oblique) hopes to get a few more right-handed at-bats before joining the club in Texas this week. Aybar will likely join Triple-A Tucson on Sunday and Monday. ...Chicago begins an 11-game road trip with Tampa Bay on Monday. ... According to Elias Sports Bureau, the last starting pitcher before Weaver to have four wins in his team's first 13 games was Roger Clemens in 1991 for the Red Sox. ... White Sox DH Adam Dunn was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts.

Box Score

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

White Sox sign Enoy Jimenez, the 17-year-old brother of Eloy Jimenez

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USA TODAY

White Sox sign Enoy Jimenez, the 17-year-old brother of Eloy Jimenez

One Jimenez just isn't enough for the White Sox.

The White Sox signed the younger brother of top prospect Eloy Jimenez this weekend. Enoy Jimenez is a 17-year-old infielder, and the 21-year-old outfielder ranked as the No. 3 prospect in baseball was on hand for his brother's big moment.

Eloy figures to hit the big leagues early next season, though it will likely be a while longer before his teenage brother could do the same. Still, they're likely hoping for the chance to play together one day.

According to this pretty exhaustive list from MLB.com, four sets of brothers have played together on the White Sox: Homer and Ted Blankenship in the 1920s, Dick and Hank Allen in the 1970s, Roberto and Sandy Alomar in 2003 and 2004 and John and Jordan Danks in 2012.

Should we be getting ready for the fifth pair?

Update: Our Chuck Garfien found this video of Enoy taking some cuts with his big brother — all decked out in White Sox gear, too.

Matt Davidson's incredibly interesting 2018

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USA TODAY

Matt Davidson's incredibly interesting 2018

This season, Matt Davidson became the fourth player in MLB history to hit three home runs in a season opener. It definitely raised a few eyebrows, especially after Paul Konerko noted during spring training that a 40-home run season and an All-Star selection isn’t out of the question for the California native. After clobbering nine home runs (seven of them coming at Kauffman Stadium) in his first 21 games, anything seemed possible.

Unfortunately it didn’t quite turn out that way, though he did rack up his second straight 20-homer season. But it’s hard to argue that 2018 wasn’t a success for Davidson — mostly because of the swings he didn’t make.

Everything else aside, Davidson walked as often as Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo in 2018.

OK, the more meaningful comparison would be Davidson to himself.

What stands out is his walk rate. One hundred fifty three players had at least 400 plate appearances in both 2017 and 2018. Among them, Davidson had the second-highest increase in walk percentage this past season.

Consider this: In 2017, Davidson and Tim Anderson became (and still are) the only players in MLB history with 160-plus strikeouts and fewer than 20 walks in a season.

Davidson, while logging 20 more at-bats in 2018, had the same number of strikeouts, 165, but he increased his walk total from 19 to 52. Give him credit for that. It’s a tough adjustment to make at the minor league level let alone in the major leagues. The increased walk rate brought his on-base percentage from .260 in 2017 (well below the AL average of .324) to .319 in 2018 (a tick above the AL average of .318) and pushed his overall offensive production from 16 percent below league average (as measured by his 84 weighted runs created plus, or wRC+) to four percent above league average (104 wRC+).

And I haven’t even mentioned the most fun aspect of his 2018 season: He pitched! And he pitched well.

Thirty pitchers took the mound for the White Sox in 2018, all of whom made at least three appearances. And only one of them didn’t allow a run: Davidson.

He topped out at 91.9 MPH and had as many strikeouts, two, as baserunners allowed in his three innings of work. The two batters he struck out, Rougned Odor and Giancarlo Stanton, combined for 56 home runs in 2018. They combined for 89 home runs (and an MVP award) in 2017.

In his career, Stanton had a combined 16 plate appearances and zero strikeouts against Barry Zito, CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka and Edwin Díaz. He struck out in his one plate appearance against Davidson.

Davidson is one of just three players with 20 or more home runs and at least three mound appearances in a season in MLB history:

— Babe Ruth (1919): 29 home runs, 17 games on the mound
— Davidson (2018): 20 home runs, three games on the mound
— Shohei Ohtani (2018): 22 home runs, 10 games on the mound

Facts are facts. Davidson is actually serious about expanding his role on the mound.

“To be honest, I would love to maybe explore that idea,” he said in July. “Pitching was a dream. As a young kid, everybody wants to hit that walk-off homer, right? I was the guy striking that guy out. That’s how I first loved the game. My favorite player was Randy Johnson and doing that.

“So, it’s something I would be interested in. I don’t know if the game would necessarily allow that or something like that. It’s something that is really close to my heart is pitching.”

Whether or not it ever happens, Davidson’s 2018 was all about finding ways to increase his value. For the White Sox, that’s a good problem to have.