There's a world of difference between the pedigrees and skill sets of White Sox starter Andre Rienzo and Angels starter Jered Weaver, but Friday night they could have convinced you it was just a matter of a few pitches; Weaver's get out of jail swing-and-miss offerings that Rienzo can't find, and the Rienzo's back-breaking hangers that Weaver would never throw.
In a game so sagged with baserunners and drawn-out jams that it felt old by the fourth, Weaver covered up five free passes (four walks,one hit batsmen) with nine strikeouts, including freezing Adam Dunn to leave the bases loaded in the third, while Rienzo never found the one pitch to get him out of the fourth inning, and coughed up a decisive five-run spurt in his search. The final was a 8-4 Angels hammering, but would not have needed much work to look different.
Rienzo started the game by allowing a leadoff bomb to Kole Calhoun, and a two-out RBI double to Josh Hamilton in the first, so he never really could have been accused of letting hope drift in. But with the Sox down 2-1 and causing trouble against a wild Jered Weaver through three, the prospect of Rienzo escaping his fourth inning jam unscathed offered promise for another comeback. With two on and one out, Abreu had just saved the day by scooping a hot smash from Erick Abyar to put Rienzo on the doorstep of an escape. But that was the last out he would record. Rienzo would allow four-straight hits to the bottom of the Angels order, and turned a tense 2-1 affair into a frustrating rout.
The Sox had threatened to do the same just an inning prior, loading the bases in the third behind two walks after Alejandro De Aza led off the inning with a solo home run, but Weaver finished off Dunn with an 0-2 tailing fastball on the black. Weaver had similarly overwhelmed Dunn to pitch over a leadoff bloop double by Jose Abreu in the second.
Dunn wouldn't be retired again on a three-hit, three RBI night. He sprayed a single up the middle to score Gordon Beckham in the sixth, and clocked a huge garbage-time, two-out, ninth-inning two-run bomb off Ernesto Frieri to give the game its final score, but got held out of his big chance to affect the win probability by Weaver. 2-12 hitting with runners in scoring position spared the crafty Californian a bad night, and that figure doesn't factor in erasing leadoff singles in the fourth and seventh with first-pitch hacking double plays.
Only so much offensive lament can be heard on a night where the pitching staff gets lit up for eight, but Scott Carroll managed to hit a positive note for himself, and may be able make a push for the next turn in the rotation on the strength of his work. He threw 4.1 innings of walk-free ball, striking out three and not allowing a hit until Albert Pujols took him deep in the eighth. He probably hasn't gotten any better, but consider the options.
Team Record: 31-31
Next Game: Saturday at 9:05 p.m. CT at Fake Los Angeles on CSN and MLB Network
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