The Los Angeles Angels can’t lose again if they want to claim an American League playoff spot, but they also will require a complete collapse by Minnesota. The Angels trail the Twins for the second wild card with five left to play as they enter Wednesday’s contest against the host Chicago White Sox.
Los Angeles remained alive with a 9-3 victory in the middle contest of the three-game set as Mike Trout hit his 31st homer and Albert Pujols reached 100 RBIs. Pujols hit the mark for the 14th time in his career with a two-run single in the seventh inning while improving to 9-for-50 with two homers and six RBIs over his last 14 games. White Sox slugger Jose Abreu went deep twice - his fifth multi-homer performance of the season - in his return from a two-game absence due to a shin injury. Chicago, which has won 10 of its last 17 overall games, has dropped eight of its last nine against the Angels.
TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, FSN West (Los Angeles), WGN (Chicago)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Angels RH Garrett Richards (0-2, 1.50 ERA) vs. White Sox RH Reynaldo Lopez (3-3, 4.54)
Richards was superb in his last outing as he blanked Houston on one hit for six innings in a no-decision. The 29-year-old has put together four solid efforts since returning from his biceps injury and has compiled a 1.86 ERA while limiting batters to a .159 average this month. Richards is 2-1 with a 3.62 ERA in nine career appearances (three starts) against the White Sox and has struggled with Abreu (4-for-9, one homer).
Lopez has won three consecutive starts despite allowing 25 hits over 19 1/3 innings during that stretch. The 23-year-old has registered only four strikeouts over his last four turns after fanning 19 in his first three starts with the club. Lopez owns a solid 2.96 ERA in four home starts but is just 1-2 during those outings.
1. White Sox 3B Yolmer Sanchez (knee) departed in the third inning Tuesday after fouling a pitch off himself.
2. Los Angeles 3B Yunel Escobar (oblique) is slated to play rehab games in the Arizona Fall League on Wednesday and Thursday before his expected return over the weekend.
3. Chicago 2B Yoan Moncada (shin) returned from a one-game absence Tuesday and went 0-for-3 with a walk.
PREDICTION: Angels 4, White Sox 1