ANAHEIM, Calif. — White Sox manager Rick Renteria hasn’t hesitated to pull his starting pitchers, even when they’ve been an out or two from qualifying for a win.
Team first, Renteria has been saying.
On Monday, with Mike Pelfrey on the ropes in the fifth after the veteran right-hander encountered trouble in the fifth inning by walking two Angels while protecting a 3-0 lead , Renteria went against his better judgment and left Pelfrey face the left-handed hitting Kole Calhoun.
The result? A game-tying three-run homer, with lefty Dan Jennings warmed and waiting in the bullpen.
The next hitter, right-handed slugger Mike Trout, launched the go-ahead homer, with right-hander Anthony Swarzak (0.00 ERA) warmed and ready.
“Bottom line today is I went against the team concept and did something for the player,” Renteria said. “And it bit us in the butt.
“There is no way to clean that up, no way to make an excuse. None whatsoever. Everybody should be extremely upset. I’m upset. Tomorrow is another day.”
The Angels went on to win 5-3, pinning a loss on the Sox (17-19) in their first game of a 10-game road trip.
After the Trout homer, Pelfrey was replaced. The Angels added one more run, on Martin Maldanado’s homer against Tommy Kahnle in the seventh.
“Pretty frustrated,” a defected Pelfrey said. “Pretty disappointed. Pretty tough to swallow after getting the 3-0 lead and giving it right back. It sucks. It sucks.”
Renteria, asked if managers can learn from days like this, said, “If managers can’t learn then they are fools.”
“I’ve been doing this a long time and today my emotions for an individual came before the reality of managing for a team,” he said.
“Honestly today this one doesn’t sit well with me. I’m sure it doesn’t sit well with very many people. I agree with them. But it’s not something we’ve done all year. We’ve been thinking team first and we will continue to do it.”