CHICAGO -- The 2014 White Sox starting rotation never was intended to include Hector Noesi and Scott Carroll, the losing pitchers during the Angels' 8-4 and 7-5 sweep of the White Sox on Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Field.
That statement certainly isn't intended to be an indictment of the work turned in by Noesi (2-6) and Carroll (2-5). But when the season began, Erik Johnson and Felipe Paulino rounded out the front five, with Noesi working in another organization and Carroll at Triple-A Charlotte.
Ineffectiveness from Johnson and Paulino, not to mention Paulino battling through rotator cuff inflammation, has been almost as major of an anchor for the quest for success from the White Sox (39-46) as dealing with significant injuries to Avisail Garcia, Nate Jones and Matt Lindstrom.
"Today, it looks like that, but Hector has thrown good for us the last few starts," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura concerning the struggles form the back end of his rotation. "That fifth sport has rotated around with Scotty and [Andre] Rienzo. You have to make do, you have to find somebody to do it. It's that simple."
Carroll was pressed into service after Rienzo endured five straight losing decisions during which he allowed 22 earned runs over 22 1/3 innings. Long relief seemed to suit Carroll, posting a 1.83 in six relief appearances, but that success also earned Carroll a return to the rotation.
In two starts since, Carroll has given up 12 earned runs on 19 hits over 11 innings. The Angels (47-35) touched up Carroll for seven earned runs on 10 hits in six-plus innings during Tuesday's nightcap.
"You're seeing the lineup more times, you're throwing a lot more pitches and going deeper into games, so I need to be more efficient and make better pitches," said Carroll, who threw 91 pitches, struck out two and walked three. "I'm trying to get to the point to where I'm consistent and translate what I had into the bullpen over."
"He's been getting hit a little bit," said Ventura of Carroll. "He's getting ground balls and then he starts picking and he gets in a tight spot and starts sinking it and getting ground balls. Just stay with that, don't try to be fine and let the defense work for you."
Los Angeles scored three in the second off of Carroll, but the White Sox answered with Conor Gillaspie's first home run of the season in his 244th plate appearance. Gillaspie had two hits and three RBIs, raising his average to .317 and his RBI total to 30.
Kole Calhoun's two-run blast in the fifth and Hank Conger's run-scoring single in the sixth gave the Angels what looked to be a pretty solid 6-2 lead with Jered Weaver (9-6) on the mound. The White Sox issued six walks in Game 2 to go with the seven from Noesi in Game 1, which is not a winning combination against the Angels' potent attack.
"That's a point where all you're doing is giving them free baserunners," said Ventura of the walks. "You want to make them work for it and you're not. The intention has to be, if you're giving up runs, you can't make it too easy."
"This was a team effort today," Calhoun said. "We had 18 innings, two games. We needed to put runs on the board for that pitching staff. Absorbing 18 innings like that, it's tough to do. We got runs early for our starters, our relievers were able to come in and finish the job. Two big team wins today."
Four straight one-out hits from the White Sox in the sixth, including a 417-foot Dayan Viciedo two-run shot to left, brought Ventura's crew within one run of Weaver. But reliever Michael Morin struck out Leury Garcia looking with runners on first and third to end the frame, and three Angels relievers, ending with Joe Smith (ninth save), finished off the sweep.
Jose Abreu, who hit home run No. 26 in the opener, extended his hitting streak to a career-high 16 games, while Adam Eaton reached base for the 24th game in his last 25. Those moments stood out with Gillaspie's effort in the club's sixth loss in eight games at home, fifth straight loss this season to the Angels and its 11th loss in 14 games against the American League West.
They entered the day with a three-game winning streak. Rough starts from Noesi and Carroll didn't give them much of a chance to build on that run.
"It happened in both games. You get yourself in trouble and put yourself in bad spots: Especially with this lineup," Ventura said. "You don't want to put anybody on and give them extra chances. We did that plenty in both games."