Angels-White Sox Preview
While playing surprisingly good defense of late, the Los Angeles Angels have managed to take advantage of some poor glove work by the Chicago White Sox to put themselves in position to sweep their weekend road set.
With White Sox ace Chris Sale standing in the way, the Angels try for a season-high fourth straight victory Sunday night.
Los Angeles (14-22) ranks among the major league leaders with 27 errors, but has not committed one in four straight contests.
Chicago (14-20), meanwhile, has made five errors in the set, including three in Saturday's 3-2 loss. The White Sox have committed 14 of their 27 errors while losing eight of 12.
"I don't think that's anything mental," Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. "Not being in the right position or things like that. Physical stuff, you get. But you know it's just one of those that you do have to do it better. It's that simple.
The Angels have won five straight and 13 of 18 over the White Sox, including six of eight at U.S. Cellular Field.
"Everything is getting back to normal, playing like how we are supposed to be playing baseball," Saturday's winning pitcher Jerome Williams said.
Mike Trout hit a two-run homer in the first inning and Albert Pujols scored the go-ahead run in the third on a passed ball that was set up by a Chicago error.
Trout has batted .356 with four homers and 13 RBIs in 11 games since he went 4 for 32 (.125) in the previous eight. He's hitting .364 with two home runs and six RBIs in five career games at U.S. Cellular.
"There is no doubt he is finding a comfort zone in the box and it is good to see him drive the ball,'' manager Mike Scioscia said.
Pujols is batting .341 during a 10-game hitting streak on the south side of Chicago.
The Angels, however, could have a tough time against Sale (3-2, 3.42 ERA), who is 2-1 with a 2.22 ERA in four starts since he allowed eight runs in 4 1-3 innings of a 9-4 loss at Cleveland on April 13. The left-hander gave up a run without a walk in 7 1-3 innings of a 2-1, 11-inning victory at Kansas City on Monday.
In Sale's only start versus Los Angeles on May 17, he allowed a home run to Pujols and struck out seven in 5 1-3 innings of a 6-1 victory.
Scheduled Los Angeles starter C.J. Wilson (3-1, 3.86) allowed four runs - one earned - and walked six over 3 2-3 innings that day to fall to 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA as a starter against the White Sox.
Only two of the seven runs Wilson yielded in a 7-6 loss at Houston on Tuesday were earned. The left-hander lasted 6 1-3 innings and matched a career high with 12 strikeouts, but allowed four runs on two homers.
Dayan Viciedo had three hits for Chicago, which loaded the bases with one out in the second inning but scored only two runs. Though the White Sox went 3 for 5 with runners in scoring position Saturday, they are hitting .221 this season in that situation.
With three more strikeouts, Chicago slugger Adam Dunn has fanned 15 times while going 4 for 33 (.121) in his last nine games. He's 1 for 25 with 12 strikeouts in his last seven against the Angels.