The Chicago White Sox will begin a three-game series against the host Los Angeles Angels on Monday night in Anaheim, Calif., looking to turn things around on a season that has not gone as expected.
Many considered the White Sox the favorite to win the American League Central, but despite Sunday’s 4-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles, they are in third place in the division and haven’t been above the .500 mark since May 25.
“We’re just keeping it day by day,” catcher Reese McGuire said. “But you put a handful of good games together and then, all of a sudden, you lose a couple in a row, so it’s always a bummer because you feel like you’re so close to getting on a roll. It goes to show you can’t take any team for granted. You got to come ready to play every day.”
Like any team, the White Sox have players on the injured list. But several in the White Sox’s lineup are banged up enough that they’ve been told not to go 100 percent in certain circumstances.
White Sox manager Tony La Russa said Tim Anderson, Jose Abreu, Andrew Vaughn, AJ Pollock and Luis Robert have been instructed by the team’s trainer to “slow it down” if they hit what would seem to be a routine out.
“You know that you’re going to go through stretches where you’re playing well and you’re going to go through stretches where you’re not playing well,” White Sox pitcher Lance Lynn said. “As professionals you’ve got to show up and be ready to play the next day, and we’re doing that. Sometimes it doesn’t equate to a win on the field, but we’re giving everything we’ve got, and as long as we keep doing that, we’re going to be all right.”
Right-hander Lucas Giolitto (4-4, 5.40 ERA) will make his 13th start of the season for the White Sox, coming off his two worst starts of the year. He gave up eight runs and seven hits in five innings in a loss to the Astros on June 17, and seven runs and 11 hits in five innings in a loss to the Blue Jays on Wednesday.
Giolito is 2-1 with a 3.93 ERA in six career starts against the Angels.
The Angels are coming off Sunday’s fight-marred game against the Mariners in which interim manager Phil Nevin and three players — pitchers Andrew Wantz, Raisel Iglesias and Ryan Tepera — were ejected. Potential suspensions are pending, but until then they are available for Monday’s game.
Nevin hopes that moving forward the emotional game — a 2-1 win — can be the spark his team needs.
“When I took over (for Joe Maddon, who was fired), I mentioned how proud (I am) of this group and how they’ve stuck together,” Nevin said. “I think that grows even more after today. … Pardon the pun, but the fight these guys have shown the past few nights has been outstanding.”
Right-hander Noah Syndergaard (4-6, 3.86) will be on the mound for the Angels on Monday to make his 12th start of the season. He is 0-4 with a 5.31 ERA in his last four starts, his last win coming May 24 against the Rangers.
He has made two appearances (one start) against the White Sox in his career, allowing one unearned run and five hits in 8 1/3 innings.
–Field Level Media