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American League Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, August 4th (All times Eastern)
LA Angels of Anaheim (57-50) at Chicago White Sox (58-47), 7:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: LA Angels - Ervin Santana (5-10, 5.97) Chicago - Gavin Floyd (8-9, 4.28)
(Sports Network) - Two teams very much in playoff contention will battle once again on Saturday, when the LA Angels of Anaheim take on the Chicago White Sox in the second test of a three-game set at U.S. Cellular Field.
The first game of this weekend's series needed extra innings to decide the outcome. With the teams tied at 6-6 in the bottom of the 10th inning, Alex Rios smacked a two-run home run that gave the White Sox an 8-6 victory.
It was one of two home runs in the game for Rios, who went 3-for-5 with four RBI and three runs scored in the game. A.J. Pierzynski hit a three-run home run in the first inning as well and Alexi Ramirez and Alejandro De Aza each added three hits for Chicago, which has won three straight.
Philip Humber got the start for the White Sox, but wasn't very effective in allowing six runs on 10 hits over 5 2/3 innings. Matt Thornton pitched a scoreless 10th inning to earn the win for the White Sox, who currently lead the American League Central by 2 1/2 games over the Detroit Tigers.
In his second start since joining the Angels, Zach Greinke did not fare well. The right-hander allowed four runs in the first inning before settling down from there to finish with a line of seven innings, 10 hits, six runs and four strikeouts.
Mike Trout went 2-for-6 with a home run and two RBI, while four other Angel batters had two hits, including Albert Pujols, who launched his 23rd home run of the season in the game.
Los Angeles has lost three straight to drop it's lead for one of the two Wild Card spots to just one-half game over Detroit and Tampa Bay. Oakland is also at the top of the Wild Card standings.
Gavin Floyd will get the start for Chicago on Saturday and is looking to bring his ERA back towards respectability.
After a disastrous stretch of starts from mid-May to mid-June in which he allowed four or more runs in six straight starts, Floyd has settled back down and found a groove. His ERA stood at 5.63 after the tough six-start stretch, but he has dropped that number to 4.28 in the six subsequent outings.
The 29-year-old's last start against the Rangers dropped his ERA despite Floyd's struggles to keep opposing batters off base. Floyd gave up seven hits, walked five batters and hit one, but kept the damage under control by allowing just two runs, one earned, over 6 2/3 innings of work. Floyd took the loss in the start and dropped his record to 8-9.
The start against Texas yet again marked a disturbing trend of high pitch counts due to an inability to consistently throw strikes. In three of his last four starts he has walked five or more batters.
Floyd kept the walks down in his only start of this season against the Angels, but that doesn't mean he kept them off the scoreboard. Floyd gave up seven runs on 10 hits over six innings in a 7-2 loss on May 16.
In his career he is just 2-5 with a 4.98 ERA in eight career starts against the Angels. He has not earned a win against Los Angeles since 2010.
In a season that has been mainly made up of negatives, Ervin Santana will be looking for a positive outing when he takes the hill for the Angels.
Santana was one of the Angels' most reliable starters in the two previous seasons but that has not been the case this season. The right-hander is just 5-10 with a 5.97 ERA and a WHIP of 1.42. His ERA would be the worst of his career by far if it remains at such an inflated level.
The former 17-game winner has had a particularly difficult stretch in his last four starts. He has twice failed to get out of the second inning during those outings and has allowed six or more runs twice.
His last start was slightly improved as he allowed three runs over five innings while striking out three. In that game, Santana also had the benefit of an explosion of run support as the Angles pounded out 15 runs in the 15-8 win over the Rangers.
A clean slate might be what Santana needs and he will get that against Chicago, a team he has yet to face in 2012. Overall, he is 4-4 with a 4.24 ERA in 13 career appearances against Chicago, including an 0-1 mark and 5.79 ERA in two starts last season.
This will also be Santana's first start in August, which has been historically his best month. He is 18-8 with a 3.96 ERA in 36 career starts in the month.
The Angels took six of eight meetings between these teams last season, but they split a two-game series in Anaheim earlier in the year.
08/04 10:33:04 ET