Angels-White Sox Preview
After splitting the first two games, the Angels and White Sox conclude their three-game series Sunday in Chicago.
The first two games of this set have each gone 10 innings, with Chicago prevailing 8-6 on Friday and Los Angeles holding on for a 6-5 win Saturday, when Howie Kendrick drove in the deciding run.
Mike Trout's torrid rookie season continues for Los Angeles. He went 2 for 4 with two runs scored Saturday and also robbed Gordon Beckham of a potential home run, after homering among two hits in the series opener.
"He has everything," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of Trout. "He's leading off with power, speed and good in the outfield. I don't know really a weakness of baseball of something you would say he's short in."
Trout isn't the only player Liriano (3-10, 5.18 ERA) will need to beware in his White Sox home debut. Albert Pujols has six homers in his last five games - one in each of the first two of this series - and is 13 for 29 with 13 RBIs in the first six games of the Angels' road trip.
Pujols is 0 for 11 lifetime against Liriano. Despite his success against Pujols, the left-hander is 0-2 with a 7.63 ERA in three starts against the Angels this year.
Liriano pitched well in his first game with Chicago (58-48) after being acquired from Minnesota. Facing his former Twins teammates Tuesday, he gave up two runs, four hits and struck out eight in six innings of a 4-3 victory, though he didn't factor in the decision.
"Minnesota finally got a dose of what we've been seeing for seven years and how hard it is to hit him when he throws it over the plate," White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski told his team's official website.
Liriano will try to help the White Sox bounce back after their three-game winning streak was snapped. They have a 1 1/2-game lead over Detroit in the AL Central.
Kevin Youkilis homered twice Saturday while Pierzynski went deep for a fourth straight game.
The Angels (58-50), who currently hold the AL's second wild card, will hand the ball to Dan Haren (8-8, 4.59), whose start has been pushed back because of soreness in his side.
Haren gave up five hits - including a solo homer - in six innings of a 3-1 victory over Tampa Bay on July 27.
"My fastball command is a little off right now, but everything else is working well for me," he said.
The right-hander is 1-1 with a 4.18 ERA in four career starts versus the White Sox.
The Angels could use a lengthy outing from Haren, as their bullpen has given up 17 runs in 12 2-3 innings while blowing three saves over the last four games.
Despite a blown save from LaTroy Hawkins on Saturday, manager Mike Scioscia was pleased with how his club bounced back to earn the win.
"Hopefully we're going to build from this and get a little more confidence in our bullpen,'' Scioscia said.