The White Sox and Angels are off to slow offensive starts, but Chicago has been able to compensate with strong pitching more often than not.
Both clubs will be looking to ignite their lineups in Monday night's series opener at U.S. Cellular Field.Though Chicago's 2.49 ERA leads the American League, the team's pitching was finally unable to bail out its cold bats this past weekend against Tampa Bay. The White Sox dropped consecutive games for the first time and were held to five runs during the three-game series, striking out 28 times.
The middle of the order, in particular, continues to struggle, with Jose Abreu and Todd Frazier hitting a combined .187.
Chicago is 3-3 when allowing three runs or more.
"It's a rough stretch, but if you told me we'd be 8-4 right now I'd take it any day of the week," said Frazier, who struck out in all four at-bats Sunday. "(I) might be trying to do too much. In a stretch like this, you have to hit strikes and I haven't been doing that. We missed a lot of pitches."
The Angels (5-7) were swept on the road by the Twins, who had started 0-9. Los Angeles was held to four hits in Sunday's 3-2, 12-inning loss, including just two after Albert Pujols' first-inning two-run homer. It's already the third time they've been limited to four hits or fewer.
Pujols is batting .196, while Mike Trout is off to a slow start as well at .233.
"We haven't been able to open some things up," manager Mike Scioscia said. "It's going to start not with just one guy. There are some guys here that need to get into their game, and once it does, I think this lineup, the way this lineup is stacked, I think it makes a lot of sense."
Scioscia gives the ball to Hector Santiago (0-0, 3.95 ERA), who lost his only previous start against his former team Aug. 11 when he gave up three runs over 5 1-3 innings in a 3-0 road defeat. Santiago opened his career with the White Sox, going 8-10 with a 3.41 ERA over 78 games from 2011-13, including 27 starts, before being traded in a four-player deal.
He gave up four runs over 7 2-3 innings without a decision in Tuesday's 5-4 win at Oakland.
Chicago counters with a fellow left-hander in Carlos Rodon (1-1, 1.38), who is off to an impressive start in his first full season. Rodon is 6-3 with a 1.73 ERA over his last 10 games going back to Aug. 11 - when he struck out a career-high 11 over seven innings in a 3-0 win against the Angels.
Rodon scattered three hits over six innings in a 3-0 victory at Minnesota on Wednesday, though he was inefficient, walking five on 107 pitches. "His strength and endurance is something that's going to be a calling card for him, because he can continue on," manager Robin Ventura said. "Right there, he's throwing too many pitches, but as the game's going on you can see him getting stronger."
The White Sox held Los Angeles to 14 runs in winning last season's series 4-3.