ANAHEIM, Calif. — The problem with making bold statements, and the White Sox were full of them during spring training, is the risk of giving someone else the last word.
During spring training, left-hander Aaron Bummer said, “I don’t expect [the Sox] to lose a game if we’re leading after the fifth inning.
“I think that the talent in our bullpen is that good to where we should be able to hold leads for our starters regardless of the score.”
It only took one game for the Sox’ vaunted bullpen to blow a lead, and it was Bummer who served it up. That quote from March made the rounds afterward, and Bummer owned up to the responsibility of allowing the tying and go-ahead runs in the eighth inning in the Sox’ 4-3 loss to the Angels on Thursday night. He could’ve deflected it because second baseman Nick Madrigal’s throwing error set up a two-on, nobody-out situation with Mike Trout batting for Bummer to tackle.
“You either get the job done or you don’t,” Bummer said. “I didn’t get the job done.”
Trout singled in a run, and Albert Pujols drove in the go-ahead run with a high chopper to third. There wasn’t much contact, but Bummer lost an 11-pitch battle on Justin Upton’s walk.
“That’s on me for not making the pitches I needed to make,” Bummer said, “to be able to get that done.”
Lamb ‘trending up’
Third baseman Jake Lamb, signed after the Braves released him Sunday, said the Sox’ confidence was plainly apparent already last October, when Lamb’s Athletics played them in the wild-card series.
“No. 1, I noticed the swagger, the swagger of the team as a whole,” Lamb said Friday. “And No. 2, I noticed the bullpen; it’s tough to ignore.”
Lamb gives the Sox a backup to Yoan Moncada, a left-handed bat off the bench and a first baseman, if needed. He was an All-Star with the Diamondbacks in 2017 but has struggled since. He had left rotator-cuff surgery in 2018. He says his shoulder is good now.
“Last year I was healthy with Arizona; I just didn’t play well,” he said. “Got a second chance with Oakland and got in a nice groove. Now I’m here, and I definitely do feel like I’m trending up. It was awesome that these guys gave me a chance, and now I get a chance to prove myself and show these guys it was worth going out and getting me.”
No changing Giolito’s go-to
Lucas Giolito, who retired the first 11 batters he faced Thursday and left with a 3-2 lead in the sixth inning, is trying to incorporate a slider and curveball into his mix, but there’s no getting away from his elevated four-seam fastball and changeup. Of his 87 pitches, Giolito threw 29 changeups, getting 12 swings and misses.
One of them, over the middle of the plate, was launched for a homer by Max Stassi.
“The changeup was definitely my go-to offspeed pitch,” Giolito said. “Threw some good ones. Left one middle-middle for the homer; that will happen sometimes. I liked the movement on it, the velo difference. I like where it needs to be.”
Giolito’s next start is in Seattle on -Tuesday.