Walks killed the White Sox in the seventh inning of Game 2 on Tuesday. They hurt them equally in the opener of the doubleheader, as well.
But this matter isn’t anything new -- walks have plagued the White Sox all season.
Six more free passes in Tuesday’s finale, including four in the seventh, contributed to a 7-5 White Sox loss to the Los Angeles Angels at U.S. Cellular Field. White Sox pitchers walked 13 batters in all in the doubleheader, one in which they were swept after they also lost the opener 8-3.
Starter Scott Carroll allowed seven runs and 10 hits and also walked two in six-plus innings and the White Sox couldn’t muster enough offense to rally past Jered Weaver and the Angels bullpen. Conor Gillaspie and Dayan Viciedo both homered in the loss and Jose Abreu extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a first-inning single.
“You get yourself in trouble and put yourself in bad spots,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “It happened in both games. Especially with this lineup. You don’t want to put anybody on and give them extra chances. We did that plenty in both games.”
The 13 walks issued by White Sox pitchers on Tuesday increased their major league-leading total to 323. They entered Tuesday with 310, 18 more than the next closest team, and 61 above the major league average, per baseball-reference.com.
Whereas walks were a problem at times in 2013, when White Sox pitchers averaged 3.15 per nine, they’ve become a bigger issue this season. Through 85 games, White Sox pitchers are averaging 3.86 walks per nine.
Hector Noesi’s seven free passes finally caught up to him in Game 1 as the Angels did all of their damage from the fifth inning on, after his pitch count soared.
Though they trailed 6-2 early in Game 2, the White Sox put together a nice rally against Weaver with three runs in the sixth on an RBI single by Gillaspie -- who also hit a two-run home run in the second inning -- and two-run homer by Viciedo.
But the White Sox didn’t maintain the momentum, nor could they keep the deficit at 6-5. Carroll opened the seventh inning with walks to Kole Calhoun, who had earlier homered, and Mike Trout. Carroll departed an later in the inning Calhoun scored on a bases-loaded walk by Jacob Petricka.
“Those two walks really pissed me off,” Carroll said. “My team did enough to put me in a position to even win the ballgame. Unfortunately, those two walks really hurt us with the late run they scored. It was frustrating. I can't do that. I can't lead off with walks. I can’t just walks guys to put guys on base. I need to do better.”
Ventura called for Petricka, who got a fly ball to right field. But on the play, Viciedo threw to third, which allowed Trout to advance to second base. The White Sox elected to intentionally walk Josh Hamilton to load the bases and Petricka couldn’t overcome a 2-0 count to Howie Kendrick, as he walked him on six pitches to
Petricka threw two straight balls against Howie Kendrick but managed to give Los Angeles a 7-5 lead.
From there, the Angels bullpen shut down the White Sox with 3 1/3 scoreless innings. Joe Smith earned his second save of the day with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
Los Angeles grabbed a 3-0 lead against Carroll in the top of the second inning with four straight singles and an RBI ground out. Calhoun pushed it to 5-2 in the fifth inning with a long homer to right off Carroll and Hank Conger singled in a run in the sixth to put them ahead by four runs.
“All you’re doing is giving them free base runners,” Ventura said. “You want to make them work for it and you’re not. The intention has to be if you’re giving up runs you can’t make it too easy. On our side we realize how tough it is if you’re not going well. Got to throw strikes.
“You get guys who can swing the bat like these guys and you can get too picky and too fine and you’re just off the plate. Just off the plate is still a ball.”