There aren’t many seasons where Chicago White Sox fans say they can look forward to a series against the Angels. However, the Angels have been having many of the same problems as the Sox this year. With an offense as stacked as they have (Hamilton, Trout, AND Pujols), it’s hard to believe that this is the case.
That being said, the White Sox did a pretty good job of making the Angels look good during the first two games of this series.
Fortunately, Chris Sale put an end to all that with his masterful performance Sunday afternoon as he led the White Sox (15-20) to a 3-0 victory. Sale (4-2) had a rough outing April 13th against the Indians, but other than that he has been pretty consistent this season, with his best outing coming today against the Angels. The young ace took a perfect game into the seventh until Mike Trout took a single back up the middle. Excluding a ninth-inning throwing error by Alexei, Trout’s hit was the only time during the game that an Angel reached base.
Working effectively and efficiently, Sale used only 98 pitches to throw his complete game. Only one count went 3-0 and he only needed five pitches to end the second inning. Walking none and striking out seven, Sale was nothing short of dominant as he improved his ERA to a team-best 2.88.
Naturally, any one-hit game is bound to have some defensive gems. These came in the form of Alexei Ramirez robbing Alberto Callaspo of a single in the seventh. Ramirez sprinted behind second base to snag a hard grounder up the middle and completed the play with a laser to first that was right on the money. Alex Rios also flashed the leather as he made a difficult catch on a deep fly ball against the fence in the second.
For as stellar as Sale was, Angels’ pitcher C.J. Wilson was stumping the Sox bats as well. Recording eight hits, the Sox weren’t without opportunities. Wilson pitched out of three separate potential rallies in the second, fourth, and sixth innings. They couldn’t get on the board until the bottom of the seventh when Ramirez had a two-run, two-out single which was promptly followed by Rios’ RBI double.
Since they only went 2-10 with men in scoring position Sunday, the Sox needed every strike that Sale threw. Sadly, this has been the case pretty much the whole season for the Sox. At the risk of sounding too blunt, they just haven’t been playing great baseball.
Rios is the top producer with 18 RBIs and a team-high average of .279. Any team whose best player is hitting just .279 is bound to have some offensive troubles. Furthermore, with a defense as deep as the Sox have, there is no reason that they should be dead last in the American League with 28 errors over just 35 games. Hopefully young guns Sale, Santiago, and Quintana continue to hold down the fort while Jake Peavy works through his injury.
Tomorrow the Sox head to Minnesota to play the Twins. At 17-17, the Twins are in very much the same boat as the Sox, trying to survive in the AL Central before Detroit or Cleveland extends their lead.