Los Angeles Angels infielder David Fletcher contributed a pair of doubles in his team’s 13-hit attack in his return to the lineup Friday.
Fletcher was 1-for-13 to open the season before landing on the injured list with a left hip strain, but manager Joe Maddon remained confident in him.
“I have a lot of faith in the guy. I think he’ll figure things out,” Maddon said. “I think he’ll make any kind of adjustment necessary.”
Perseverance is in heavy supply for Fletcher and the Angels, who enter Saturday’s visit to the slumping Chicago White Sox on a six-game winning streak.
Los Angeles extended the run Friday when seven pitchers combined on a three-hitter in a 5-1 victory.
Noah Syndergaard was scratched from his scheduled start, sending Maddon to Plan B.
“Everything about it, it was just a really well-played game on our part,” he said.
Chicago would like to say the same about its own play.
After starting the season 6-2, the defending American League Central champs have lost 10 of 11 and will be assured of their first losing month since September 2019.
The White Sox fell to 4-11 against the Angels since the start of 2019 in Friday’s series opener. Chicago mustered just three hits, including two by Tim Anderson.
Chicago has been outscored 19-10 while losing three of four to open a seven-game homestand.
“We keep working,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “We are going to be all right.”
First baseman Jose Abreu, who singled Friday, said the team is not panicking about its offense.
“Tony and the whole coaching staff are doing a very good job,” Abreu said. “They are giving us all the information we need. At the end of the day, it’s on us to execute the plan and to do our job. We haven’t been able to do that. Hopefully sooner rather than later.”
La Russa said outfielder Andrew Vaughn would undergo X-rays on his right hand after he was hit by a pitch in the ninth inning Friday.
Right-hander Vince Velasquez (0-2, 6.75 ERA) is set to make his fourth start for Chicago. He has struck out 13 batters in 12 innings this season while surrendering three home runs.
Velasquez has thrown just a single inning in his career against the Angels, holding them scoreless while he was a Houston Astro in 2015.
Velasquez was thumped in an April 23 start at Minnesota, allowing five runs on eight hits in 3 1/3 innings with one walk and six strikeouts.
Lefty Jose Suarez (0-1, 5.54 ERA) gets the call for the Angels. Suarez has struck out 11 in 13 innings this season and has struggled in limited career action against the White Sox, allowing four runs in a four-inning relief appearance.
Angels outfielder Taylor Ward is batting .458 with four home runs and 12 RBIs in his past seven games. He was 3-for-5 with a leadoff home run and two RBIs Friday.
“He keeps doing it,” Maddon said. “Quality at-bat after quality at-bat.”
–Field Level Media