Rienzo Hit Around As Weaver Dazzles White Sox in Opener

For the third straight time out, White Sox starter Andre Rienzo was not sharp. But for the first time on the year, he was unable to keep his team in the ball game despite not having his best stuff.

Rienzo Overmatched

Andre lasted just 3.2 innings before giving way to long-reliever Scott Carroll and was hit all over the ballpark from the get-go.

Kole Calhoun led off the Angels’ half of the first inning with a solo home run ahead of Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton, who each ripped hits to produce another run. Rienzo escaped the first on a line drive-turned-double play and seemed to settle down, at least for a bit.

He faced the minimum over the next two innings, had his pitch count back under control, and really appeared to be much more comfortable out there than he was at the start. Until a little bit of bad luck entered the equation, that is.

With one out in the fourth, Hamilton and David Freese notched back-to-back bloop singles off the end of their bats, which became a jam Rienzo could not get out of. With two down, the Halos went double-single-single-double, forcing Robin Ventura to come out of the dugout and signal to the bullpen.

Things are especially tough for Rienzo when his curveball is not working. That’s his out pitch and really the only one in his arsenal that can impress on a regular basis. When it was clear he didn’t have his good stuff in this one, he turned to that breaking ball and simply rolled too many of them.

His final line: 3.2 IP, 1 BB, 9 H, 7 ER, 2 SO

The Angels can certainly be a tough offense to keep under control, but things won’t get any easier as Rienzo iss looking at facing the Detroit Tigers this upcoming Wednesday. Hopefully he can nip his personal losing streak in the bud in that one and come up with a big performance against a division rival, and get his season back on track.

Weaver Slow-Balls His Way to a Gem

Angels’ ace Jeff Weaver is not the pitcher he once was. He now throws in the mid-to-high 80’s and relies on changing speeds and hittin’ the hell out of his spots. He did both of those things quite well Friday night.

Weaver’s slow, looping curveball, tailing fastball and teaser of a changeup were simply too much for the Pale Hose. They certainly made him look like he was throwing in the mid-90’s like he used to.

The Sox picked up five hits over his six innings, but Weaver’s worst enemy was not the south siders’ offense … rather, his own control. Coming into the night, the 31 year old veteran had only walked 23 guys over his 12 starts. He issued four free passes to the Sox while also hitting one batter. And that was the only reason he didn’t go eight or nine innings, as the 109 pitches he delivered was a season-high.

Alejandro De Aza led off the third with a solo home run, but he was able to escape further damage there despite facing seven batters in the frame.

Credit: Victor Decolongon, Getty Images

Credit: Victor Decolongon, Getty Images

Adam Dunn drove home a run in the sixth after Weaver put a couple runners on, but don’t be mistaken … Weaver was in control all throughout, and really would’ve had a special outing on his hands if it were not for the walks.

As Hawk Harrelson put it, “He dazzled our guys, had ’em waaay off balance … and he did it by mixing speeds.” Being able to slow-ball your way to nine strikeouts over six innings is impressive and quite frankly, was a pleasure to watch.

The 7-2 lead the Halos’ ‘pen was handed was plenty, as L.A. went on to win, 8-4 after an Albert Pujols homer in the eighth and an Adam Dunn “monster shot,” as Steve Stone described it, with the Sox down to their last out in the ninth.

Also of note …

  • Scott Carroll did a nice job of saving the bullpen, going 4.1 innings and letting up only two hits and one run
  • The White Sox stranded 11 runners. That’ll do it!


Photo Credit: Victor Decolongon, Getty Images

Zachary Gropper

About Zachary Gropper

Zach is the Managing Editor of GrabSomeBench.com, and you can follow him on Twitter @zmgrop.