Angels-White Sox Preview
Garrett Richards probably wishes that June could be extended somehow.
He owns the AL’s lowest ERA this month and looks to win his fifth straight decision Monday night when the visiting Los Angeles Angels start a three-game set against the Chicago White Sox.
Richards (8-2, 2.76 ERA) is 4-0 with a 1.05 ERA in five starts this month for the lowest ERA in a month by an Angels starter since Jered Weaver posted a 0.99 ERA in March and April of 2011. Opponents are batting .203 against Richards for the league’s lowest mark.
He gave up two runs over 7 1-3 innings Wednesday to earn a 6-2 home win over Minnesota. Richards insists he’s not concerned about whether he will be selected as an All-Star for the first time.
"I would love to be there, but that’s out of my control," Richards told MLB’s official website. "There have been guys who have put up good numbers and haven’t made the All-Star team. I’m not really swallowed up in it."
The right-hander has never started against the White Sox, posting a 7.50 ERA against them in six relief appearances.
He’ll get his first look at the red-hot Jose Abreu, who is batting .351 with six homers and 13 RBIs during a career-best 14-game hitting streak. Abreu is tied for the big-league lead with 25 homers.
Los Angeles (45-35) swept three games at home June 6-8 from Chicago behind Josh Hamilton, who went 7 for 12 with four RBIs in that series.
The Angels are looking to regroup after starting this six-game trip by losing two of three to Kansas City over the weekend, falling 5-4 on Sunday.
Mike Trout owns a career .862 OPS against Chicago that is his lowest mark against any AL club. Trout is 10 for 23 with two homers over a seven-game hitting streak.
Albert Pujols is insisting that a swollen lymph gland near his groin is not a major issue, although it hampered him while running the bases Sunday. He said it won’t keep him out of the lineup.
”It’s one of those glands that kind of grabbed something,” Pujols said. ”It’s fine. They’re not too concerned about it. I don’t feel it when I’m hitting. The first time I felt it was when I was running. It’s been a couple of days."
Chicago (39-44) begins a six-game homestand after capping a 4-6 trip with a 4-0 win at Toronto to take the final three games of a four-game set. The White Sox, who won a season-high four straight May 4-7, began the trip with five defeats.
"It was not a fun start," manager Robin Ventura told MLB’s official website. "I think that’s just part of baseball. When you play this many games you go through tough stretches, and it’s good to get a win like this on our way home."
Journeyman Hector Noesi (2-5, 5.07) will make his 12th start for Chicago after also pitching this year for Seattle and Texas. He is 2-4 with a 4.26 ERA as a starter in 2014.
The right-hander owns a 7.65 career ERA in six appearances against the Angels, including two starts in 2012 with the Mariners.
Trout is 4 for 9 against Noesi, who has limited Pujols to a single in nine at-bats.