While the Chicago White Sox apparently tried to bring Zack Greinke to the South Side before the trade deadline, the Los Angeles Angels ultimately wound up with one of the most coveted arms on the market.
Coming off a hard-luck loss, Greinke again tries for his first win with his new team Friday night as the visiting Angels open a three-game set with the AL Central-leading White Sox.
Chicago (57-47) was rumored to be one of several interested teams to miss out on Greinke (0-1, 2.57 ERA), who was shipped from Milwaukee to Los Angeles in a blockbuster deal last Friday. Greinke took the loss two days later in his Angels debut, allowing two runs and seven hits and striking out eight over seven innings of a 2-0 defeat to Tampa Bay.
"Hopefully I'll win a bunch of games and it becomes a fun season," he said. "Everything's just happened pretty fast - traveling here, meeting a bunch of new people, going over things with the catcher and having a day game instead of a night game, which would have made it easier to get adjusted. So a lot of stuff was going on. But once you get on the mound, it's the same game no matter where you're pitching and who it's against."
Despite a couple of impressive outings, the 2009 AL Cy Young award winner went 0-2 with a 5.46 ERA over six starts in July - his first winless month since April 2010. Greinke dominated the White Sox not long before that disappointing stretch began, throwing nine innings of three-hit ball during the Brewers' 1-0, 10-inning road win June 22.
Prior to that gem, Greinke had gone 1-7 with a 7.15 ERA in eight career road starts versus the White Sox. No one in the majors has faced Greinke more than Paul Konerko, who's 9 for 62 (.145) with 17 strikeouts and six walks in their matchups. Alexei Ramirez is 3 for 26 and Kevin Youkilis is 1 for 10.
Greinke will now try to slow down a White Sox club that's hit .321 and outscored opponents 76-36 while winning 10 of 11 at home. Chicago returns to the South Side after winning four of six on a road trip that concluded with Wednesday's 3-2 victory over Minnesota.
Alejandro De Aza went 3 for 4 with a run scored and an RBI and Jake Peavy threw eight strong innings to help the White Sox stay 2 1/2 games ahead of second-place Detroit.
"I feel excited to be able to help to this point, but we want to win," Peavy told the team's official website. "It will be a satisfying season in this clubhouse for everybody, no matter what the numbers are at the end, if we find a way to win this (American League) Central and get in the playoffs."
The Angels (57-49) failed to gain any ground on AL West-leading Texas after splitting four games with the Rangers. Los Angeles won the first two games of that set before allowing a combined 26 runs in back-to-back losses, falling 15-9 on Thursday.
"It was kind of a momentum kill from how we played the first two nights to how we played these last two. It's tough," manager Mike Scioscia said.
The Angels will try to bounce back against Philip Humber (5-5, 5.90), who allowed one run and four hits over six-plus innings Saturday in a 5-2 victory at Texas.
"He was great," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "You see him getting ahead, really in the strike zone. That's when he's at his best. He's able to command the strike zone throwing his fastball to both sides of the plate."
The right-hander yielded four runs - two earned - over five innings of a 4-3 home loss to Los Angeles on April 15, 2011, his only career start versus the Angels.