The Los Angeles Angels are trying to win back-to-back road games for the first time this season.
Hamilton will try to build on his recent success and help the Angels capitalize on a three-game series against the last-place White Sox on Friday night.
Los Angeles (12-22) continues to be one of the biggest disappointments in baseball, and a 5-13 road record isn’t helping.
The Angels have followed each of their road wins with at least two defeats, but they’re hoping to change that after beating Houston 6-5 on Thursday to avoid a three-game sweep.
Manager Mike Scioscia was pleased after seeing his team rally to win by scoring three times in the eighth inning.
“It’s a great character game for our guys,” Scioscia said. “I feel good for them. The clubhouse feels good. We held on. We kept pressuring them and got some key hits as the game went on.”
Hamilton may be gaining confidence, hitting home runs in each of the last two games after going 20 straight without one. Hamilton, who hit a career-best 43 homers last year, also doubled Thursday but is still batting .213 on the season - .171 on the road. Each of his four homers and six of his 11 RBIs have come against the Astros, who occupy the AL West cellar.
Perhaps facing another last-place team can get Hamilton and the Angels rolling.
Los Angeles has won 11 of 16 versus the White Sox (14-18) over the last two seasons, and Hamilton is a .346 hitter in 24 career games against them with eight homers and 23 RBIs. The five-time All-Star has a .379 average over his last eight visits to U.S. Cellular Field, and he’s 2 for 3 with a homer versus Chicago scheduled starter Dylan Axelrod
The Angels were set to start Tommy Hanson on Friday, but the right-hander was scratched as he continues to deal with a recent death in his family.
Instead, they’ll go with Barry Enright (0-1, 9.00 ERA). The righty made a pair of relief appearances in late April for the Angels, but this will be his first major league start since pitching for Arizona in 2011.
He was 1-2 with a 9.61 ERA in four starts for Triple-A Salt Lake this season.
Those poor numbers may not matter against Chicago, which is among the worst teams in the majors with a .227 average. However, the White Sox are coming off one of their best offensive displays of the season in Wednesday’s 6-3 win over the New York Mets.
They matched a season high with 13 hits, including three doubles and two homers, after being one-hit by the Mets a day earlier in a 1-0, 10-inning loss.
Konerko is batting .224 overall, including 4 for 23 over the last five.
“He’s fighting and working through on it,” manager Robin Ventura told the team’s official website. “It’s not where he wants to be, but you can see glimpses of coming out.”
Konerko went 5 for 24 with one homer over the final two three-game series with the Angels last season.
Axelrod (0-2, 3.60) is familiar with Chicago’s offensive shortcomings.
The right-hander has been backed by 11 runs over his six starts, while he’s held opponents to three runs or fewer in five of them. That includes all three starts at home, where he has no record but a 2.04 ERA.
Axelrod got no help in Saturday’s 2-0 loss at Kansas City, as all of the scoring in his 7 2-3 innings came on a two-run triple in the first.
“That’s my goal: to get a quality start,” Axelrod said. “Every time out, give your team a chance to win. I’m trying to build off that.”