Jim Thome may not have yet hit his 500th homer, but he did learn something in the process.
Thome went 0-for-4 Friday in a 5-3 victory by the White Sox (63-84), held in check by former teammate Bartolo Colon and reliever Ervin Santana. But Thome feels there are lessons to be applied after trying to accomplish the feat in front of 25 relatives and friends.
“There’s a lot of adrenalin that goes with it,” said Thome, a Peoria, Ill., native. “It was a neat experience, it really was. I think you learn from everything. Hopefully, I can learn from tonight and try to have some good at-bats.”
Thome, who has hit 17 of his 27 homers in 2007 at US Cellular Field, is 10-for-28 (.357) through seven games on this homestand with four homers and 10 RBIs, but he has never faced Angels scheduled starter Jered Weaver.
Weaver (11-7, 4.00 ERA) tries to get back on track after being denied a win for a fourth consecutive start. He was tagged for six runs and nine hits in five innings of a 6-2 defeat to Cleveland on Sunday, struggling in a five-run fourth after facing the minimum nine batters through the first three innings.
“I felt really good the first three innings,” Weaver told the Angels’ official Web site, “but I just ran into a roadblock in the fourth.
The 24-year-old did win at US Cellular on April 28, scattering six hits in 5 2-3 innings while striking out five in a 3-0 victory over the White Sox in his lone appearance against them.
Los Angeles (86-61) has lost four of its last six games, but still has a comfortable eight-game lead atop the AL West. One of the few areas for concern for the Angels is Vladimir Guerrero, who was relegated to designated hitter for the fourth straight game due to an inflamed right triceps, but manager Mike Scioscia expects him to return to right field before the end of the series.
White Sox starter Jon Garland (9-11, 4.59) needs a victory for his sixth consecutive 10-win season, but will come nowhere near his 18-win campaigns of 2005 and 2006. The right-hander lost for the fourth time in five decisions Sunday as his defense betrayed him. Garland gave up five runs - one earned - and five hits in eight innings of a 5-2 defeat.
“I went out there to give the team a chance to win and I threw the ball well,” Garland said. “It’s a hard game - things don’t always go your way. Hopefully the day you’re out there they do, but you have to get back on the mound and keep pushing.”
He lost to Weaver on April 28, yielding three runs in seven innings, but bounced back to win at Los Angeles on May 5 by giving up three runs in seven innings of a 6-3 win. Garland, though, is 3-7 with a 4.86 ERA in 13 lifetime starts versus the Angels.