Jeff Samardzija’s animated demeanor on the mound in his last start showed how frustrated he’s become with his performances lately.
The Los Angeles Angels surely won’t pity him if he gets roughed up again.
The right-hander looks help the Chicago White Sox avoid a seventh straight road loss and eighth consecutive defeat in Anaheim on Wednesday night.
Samardzija (8-8, 4.78 ERA) might be taking more years and dollars off of a potential contract offer in free agency following the season while going through the most difficult stretch of his disappointing year. He’s lost three straight starts with a 12.91 ERA after allowing six runs and three homers over six innings of Friday’s 6-5 loss to the Chicago Cubs.
Opponents are hitting .354 off Samardzija in that stretch, and he’s also walked six and hit three batters in 15 1-3 innings. Often he threw up his arms and shook his head in disbelief against the Cubs as his frustrations boiled over.
”It hurts, man,” Samardzija said. ”I take things personally. I enjoy having success. I enjoy doing well.”
He was sharp in both of his outings against the Angels last season, allowing one earned run in 15 innings. Albert Pujols has had success against Samardzija, though, going 7 for 19 with three homers, five walks and no strikeouts.
Pujols tied Mike Trout for the team lead with 33 home runs by hitting a solo shot in the first inning of Los Angeles’ 5-3 win over Chicago (55-62) on Tuesday. He also homered in Monday’s 2-1 victory.
Los Angeles lost six of seven before taking the first two of this four-game series to pull a half-game ahead of Baltimore for the AL’s second wild card. It is 2 1/2 behind Houston for the West lead.
Trout and Pujols are bidding to become the first teammates with 40 homers apiece since Jim Thome and Jermaine Dye did it for the White Sox in 2006.
Kole Calhoun delivered his career-high 18th homer in the first Tuesday as the Angels (62-57) hit two out of the park for the fourth straight game after not hitting any in their previous five.
"Any time you can give our starting pitcher some run support right out the gate, it’s always a plus," Pujols said. "We would love to do that every night.”
They’ll try to do the same for Jered Weaver (4-9, 4.60), who makes his third start since returning from a nearly two-month stint on the disabled list because of left hip inflammation. Weaver has allowed five runs – four earned – in 11 innings over the last two.
The right-hander pitched five scoreless innings in Friday’s 4-1 loss to Kansas City before allowing all three of his runs – including a two-run homer – and departing after the sixth.
"I felt good," said Weaver, 0-5 with a 5.59 ERA in his last six starts. "Command was good. Just one bad pitch."
Weaver has won five straight starts against the White Sox and is 9-2 with a 2.15 ERA in 12 career outings against them. He gave up five runs in 5 2-3 innings of the last one, however, a 7-5 road victory July 1, 2014.
The White Sox have recorded fewer than nine hits in four straight for the first time since June 15-18. Jose Abreu had three of their eight hits Tuesday and is 7 for 12 over his last four.
Chicago has been outscored 30-18 during a six-game road skid and has posted a 6.43 ERA during its seven consecutive losses in Anaheim.