The LA Angels of Anaheim hope life under new hitting coach Jim Eppard has continued success as they target a sweep of a two-game series versus the Chicago White Sox this afternoon at Angel Stadium.
Eppard took over for Mickey Hatcher this week and the Angels responded with a 7-2 victory last night behind a 12-hit attack. Albert Pujols homered for the second time this season, belting a three-run homer in the third inning to extend his hitting streak to five games. Vernon Wells clubbed a two-run shot for the Angels, who have won two in a row after losing three of four.
Angels starter Jerome Williams went eight innings and gave up two runs on 10 hits with five strikeouts to win his fourth straight decision.
"I felt good and I was throwing the ball where I needed to," said Williams. "I just want to go out there and pitch well. When we score, I just try to go back out there and throw up a zero."
The Angels will close out a four-game homestand today before embarking on a 10-game road trip to San Diego, Oakland and Seattle.
Making his third start since Friday, Angels first-year lefty C.J. Wilson gets the call this afternoon and is 4-3 with a 3.42 ERA in eight starts. Wilson faced his former Texas Rangers teammates in a 10-3 loss on May 11 and lasted only one-third of an inning because of a lengthy rain delay. The southpaw never returned to the mound when the game resumed, but was dealt the loss for giving up four runs and three hits.
Wilson then got the start again on Saturday in a 4-2 win in Arlington and did not record a decision with 5 2/3 innings of two-run ball. The last time a pitcher started back-to-back games was former Texas right-hander Aaron Myette, who was ejected after four pitches back on Sept. 3, 2002, then got the nod again the following day.
Wilson is 2-1 in three starts at Angel Stadium this season and brings an unblemished record against Chicago into Thursday's matchup. In 12 lifetime meetings (3 starts) with the White Sox, he is 3-0 with a 2.92 ERA over 24 2/3 innings of work.
Chicago has dropped two straight and four of five games, and will try to avoid a sweep in the City of Angels. In last night's five-run loss, Paul Konerko had his second straight three-hit night and Dayan Viciedo ended 3-for-4 with a home run for the White Sox.
Gordon Beckham had two hits and drove in a run in the loss.
"We had guys swinging but the balls just didn't want to fall in," said Chicago manager Robin Ventura. "They were swinging the bats well and you have to tip your cap to them."
Pale Hose starter Gavin Floyd was tagged for seven runs on 10 hits with a walk and four strikeouts over six innings to absorb the loss.
Chicago will also visit the rival Cubs for three games this weekend.
It appears Chris Sale will continue his starting duties following a brief stint in the bullpen and gets the nod for the White Sox today. Sale was saddled with a blown save in a 5-3 win at Cleveland on May 8, then returned to the rotation in Saturday's 5-0 loss to Kansas City. Sale was dealt the setback for giving up three runs and seven hits in five innings of work.
Sale, a left-hander, owns a 3-2 mark and a 3.08 ERA in seven games (6 starts) this season. He will make his first career start against the Angels after two relief appearances.
Chicago lost six of eight meetings with Anaheim a year ago.