Angels, Trout complete sweep of White Sox
ANAHEIM, Calif. – While it comes as no surprise as the White Sox approach the quarter point of their 2017 season that they are failing to play .500 baseball — and sinking at a rapid pace — a look at who their top performers are is something of a shocker.
Just think of where they’d be without the surprising performances of players like Avisail Garcia, Leury Garcia, Anthony Swarzak and Tommy Kahnle.
“Their manager [Rick Renteria] is doing a great job getting players to trust them and getting the most out of them,’’ an American League scout said. “That’s what good managers do. He has got the most out of Avisail Garcia, that is for sure. And Leury Garcia is a much better player than I ever thought.’’
While the front office looks at the big picture mapping out a rebuild with the goal of long-term, sustained success, Renteria is managing in the now, trying to develop a culture of winning baseball with a roster not exactly built for winning and doing everything in his power to accumulate wins that would adversely affect the Sox’ position in next year’s draft.
He hasn’t been successful in that regard of late – the Sox surrendered an early lead and lost 12-8 as the Angels completed a three-game sweep Wednesday night, falling for the ninth time in their last 11 games overall after Swarzak got scored on for the first time all season.
Swarzak entered a tie game in the sixth inning and gave up an RBI single to ninth-place batter Martin Maldanado, the run charged to starter Miguel Gonzalez (3-4) and then a check-swing infield hit to the red-hot Cameron Maybin before Mike Trout unloaded his 13th homer or the season.
Trout’s blast, his fifth in the last six games and second of the series, came with two runners on and put the Sox in an 8-4 hole. The Angels piled it on against Michael Ynoa, reaching double digits in runs by the seventh inning.
Gonzalez walked four batters immediately after his team handed him a 4-0 lead with two runs in the first inning and two more in the second. The result? Four Angels runs in the second to wipe out a nice cushion.
Gonzalez then righted himself, facing one batter over the minimum through the next three innings.
The loss was the Sox’ 14th in the last 15 games at the Big A. They led 2-0 in the first against right-hander Matt Shoemaker as Jose Abreu followed Melky Cabrera’s two-out double with his seventh home run. All of Abreu’s homers have come on the road and all of them in the last 17 games. This one came on a pitch below the cleanup hitter’s knees, which he reached down for and sent to the rocks beyond the wall in left center.
The Sox got an RBI single from Yolmer Sanchez and would make it 4-0 in the second, but that’s where the visitors’ good times stopped rolling until they scored three in the eighth.
Gonzalez’ disappointing outing – he allowed five runs, five walks and six hits in 5 2/3 innings – made Sox starters 0-8 with a ERA to 6.36 over the last 11 games.
“Just focus, control,” Gonzalez said. “Ball was moving more than usual. I was unable to get back in the zone those first two innings. Mostly the damage was in (the second inning) and after that I was pretty good. Need to stay on top of that and need stay focused every pitch and things will be fine.”
The Sox did out-hit the Angels 15-13, with Avisail Garcia going 3-for-5 with a double and two RBI to raise his average to .348. Sanchez, Melky Cabrera, Abreu, Todd Frazier and Tim Anderson collected two hits. But Anderson committed his eighth error on a routine grounder and Garcia was charged with a throwing error and misjudged a liner that sailed over his head for a double.
The Sox head to Seattle for four games against the Mariners.