White Sox

White Sox fall to Angels, who complete series sweep

White Sox fall to Angels, who complete series sweep

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Doesn’t seem to matter what the White Sox do at Angel Stadium. They just can’t beat the Los Angeles Angels.

Despite taking an early four-run lead, the White Sox went on to lose for the 14th time in 15 games at the place the locals call “The Big A.” Miguel Gonzalez walked four batters in the second inning, the first of three four-run rallies by Los Angeles. The White Sox dropped a 12-8 decision to the Angels, who completed a three-game sweep in front of 33,234. The loss is the 17th in 21 games in Anaheim for the White Sox dating back to 2012 and it dropped them to 17-21 overall this season.

“It’s definitely tough to swallow,” said Gonzalez, who allowed five earned runs in 5 2/3 innings. “It’s not easy. Guys came out today and hit the ball well. We had 15 hits. Those type of games, those are the games you want to win. Things didn’t go our way. Our bullpen has been throwing the ball really well. Today didn’t go their way. Just flush this game and get ready for the next one.”

Everything appeared to be headed in the White Sox direction in the early innings.

Jose Abreu crushed a low, outside split-fingered fastball from Matt Shoemaker in the first inning for a two-run homer and a 2-0 lead. Abreu’s seventh homer traveled an estimated 424 feet and splashed down in the Thunder Mountain Railroad rocks in center field.

The White Sox added on in the second inning, too.

Matt Davidson singled and scored on an RBI single by Yolmer Sanchez and Leury Garcia scored on an errant double play throw to make it 4-0.

But then it all fell apart rather quickly.

After he walked one in a scoreless first inning, Gonzalez walked four in the four-run second inning. Andrelton Simmons drew the first and scored when Ben Revere tripled him in. Danny Espinosa received a free pass and Martin Maldonado’s sac bunt made it a 4-2 game. Cameron Maybin, who went 3-for-4 with a walk after a five-hit effort on Tuesday, walked as did Mike Trout to load the bases. Albert Pujols tied it with a two-run single.

Gonzalez then appeared to find a rhythm as he retired the side in order on seven pitches in the fourth. He recorded the first two outs in the sixth inning before allowing a double to Espinosa and gave way to Anthony Swarzak, who had a 0.00 ERA. Maldonado singled in the go-ahead run and Maybin singled to set up Trout, who blasted a three-run homer for an 8-4 lead.

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Gonzalez allowed five earned runs and six hits with five walks in 5 2/3 innings, his second straight rough outing. Swarzak departed with three runs and three hits allowed.

“It kind of fell apart there,” manager Rick Renteria said. “We’ve been riding these guys pretty hard, all of our relievers. One of the very few instances where our guys had a little tough time.

“This game evolved into one of those games that happens very rarely. We haven’t had that many to be honest. I don’t think it’s something to hold on to and let linger. We have to move on to the next series.”

It got a little worse before it got better.

A Tim Anderson error sparked a seventh-inning rally that included RBI singles by C.J. Cron, Espinosa and Maldonado. Maybin grounded into a double play to push across another run to make it 12-4.

The White Sox refused to go quietly as they scored three runs in the eighth inning. Avisail Garcia, Anderson and Kevan Smith all singled in a run. Garcia also doubled in a run in the ninth inning to get the White Sox within four runs.

“We’re trying our best to get out of this bad streak,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “It doesn’t matter that our best right now hasn’t been enough for us. We have to keep working hard every day and do our best every day.

“We’re trying to fight every at-bat, every pitch, every play. Sometimes things don’t go the way you want them to go.”

Tim Anderson celebrated his birthday in style

Tim Anderson celebrated his birthday in style

Tim Anderson turned 24 on Saturday and celebrated the occasion with a bang.

Anderson smashed a three-run home run in the first inning against the A's. It was actually his first swing on his birthday. Anderson took the first two pitches before launching the 1-1 pitch over the right field fence.

That home run, Anderson's 13th of the year, gave the White Sox a 5-0 lead. Things took an ugly turn later in the game with Oakland winning 7-6. Dylan Covey left in the fifth with a hip injury, which manager Rick Renteria said will be evaluated tomorrow to determine the severity of the injury.

Anderson finished 2-for-4 on his birthday. He later added a single, a stolen base and a run in the sixth inning.

Anderon's power surge this year has him on pace to blow past his 17 homers from a year ago. He is four shy of last year's total and has done so in just under half as many plate appearances.

It's only one start, but that's the Lucas Giolito that White Sox fans expected to see this season


It's only one start, but that's the Lucas Giolito that White Sox fans expected to see this season

The preseason expectations and the results have been drastically different for Lucas Giolito.

Expected to be the best pitcher on the White Sox starting staff, Giolito hasn’t come too close to that title, instead heading into Friday’s doubleheader with the most earned runs allowed of any pitcher in baseball. His walk total has been among the highest in the game all year long, too. And the calls from social media to send him down to Triple-A haven’t been at all infrequent.

But Friday, White Sox fans got a glimpse at what they expected, a look at the guy who earned so much hype with a strong September last season and a dominant spring training.

It wasn’t a performance that would make any reasonable baseball person’s jaw drop. But it was the best Giolito has looked this season. He still allowed four runs on seven hits — as mentioned, not a Cy Young type outing — but he struck out a season-high eight batters. Prior to giving up the back-to-back singles to start the eighth inning that brought an end to his evening, he’d surrendered just two runs.

Most importantly he walked just two guys and didn’t seem to struggle with his command at all. That’s a big deal for a pitcher who had 45 walks to his name prior to Friday.

“You know it was a tough eighth inning, but throughout the whole game, I felt in sync,” Giolito said. “(Catcher Omar Narvaez) and I were working really well, finally commanding the fastball the way I should. Definitely the best I felt out there this year, for sure. Velocity was up a tick. Just felt right, felt in sync. Just competed from there.”

Confidence has never left Giolito throughout the poor results, and he’s talked after every start about getting back on the horse and giving it another try. Consistently working in between starts, things finally seemed to click Friday night.

“It all worked today,” manager Rick Renteria said. “(Pitching coach Don Cooper) says that every bullpen has gotten better, from the beginning to this point. He sees progress. The velocity that he showed today was something that Coop was seeing in his work. You can see that his delivery is continuing to improve. He was trusting himself, really attacking the strike zone, trusted his breaking ball today when he need to and just tried to command as much as he could. Did a nice job.”

Giolito went through this kind of thing last year, when he started off poorly at Triple-A Charlotte with a 5.40 ERA through his first 16 starts. But then things got better, with Giolito posting a 2.78 ERA over his final eight starts with the Knights before getting called up to the big leagues.

This was just one start, of course, but perhaps he can follow a similar formula this year, too, going from a rough beginning to figuring things out.

“I’m not trying to tinker or think about mechanics anymore,” he said. “It’s about flow, getting out there and making pitches. We were able to do that for the most part.

“I’ll watch video and see certain things, and I have little cues here and there. But I’m not going to go and overanalyze things and nitpick at certain stuff anymore. It’s about going there and having fun and competing.”

Maybe that’s the secret. Or maybe this is simply a brief flash of brilliance in the middle of a tough first full season in the bigs.

Whatever it was, it was the best we’ve seen of Giolito during the 2018 campaign. And it was far more like what was expected back before that campaign got going.