WHITE SOX (55-66) AT ANGELS (60-64)
9:07 p.m. ET; FS-W, NBCSCH, MLB.TV
James McCann wasn’t a feared offensive threat before joining the Chicago White Sox (+1.5) in the offseason.
The first-time All-Star catcher is suddenly the owner of a solid bat, and he will look to continue his surprising production when the White Sox oppose the Los Angeles Angels (+1.5) on Saturday night in the third contest of a four-game set in Anaheim, Calif.
McCann went 3-for-4 and smacked a grand slam Friday in Chicago’s 7-2 victory over the Angels. It was his second slam in three games and the fifth of his career.
“I was looking for the slider,” McCann told NBC Sports Chicago in a postgame television interview. “I was sitting on it, and I got it.”
McCann batted .220 with eight homers and 116 strikeouts in 427 at-bats last season for the Detroit Tigers (+1.5). Two seasons earlier, he batted .221. His high for homers over his first four full seasons was 13.
The 446-foot blast Friday gave McCann a career-best 14 homers. He is batting .293 — easily his best mark — and his 47 RBIs are just two shy of his career high.
Over his past 11 appearances, McCann is 17-for-41 (.415) with 14 RBIs. That streak includes the two grand slams, the first being a tiebreaker in the eighth inning of a 13-9 win over the Houston Astros (-1.5) on Wednesday.
McCann, 29, is the first White Sox player with two grand slams in one season since Carlos Quentin in 2010.
Asked if he ever hit two grand slams in a week before, McCann chuckled.
“I would say video games, but I don’t play video games,” McCann said. “So never.”
The Angels have a hot player of their own in superstar Mike Trout, who matched his career high for homers with his 41st in the Friday setback. He is tied for the major league lead with Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers (-1.5).
With 38 games to go, Trout is just six homers behind the franchise mark set by Troy Glaus in 2000.
“It’s pretty cool to set a career high in the middle of August,” Trout told reporters. “Month and a half left, we’ve got to finish strong.”
Trout has homered in each of the first two games of the series.
“I’m running out of things to say,” Los Angeles manager Brad Ausmus said of Trout’s exploits.
Still, the Angels went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and combined to strike out 13 times on Friday.
On Saturday, left-hander Hector Santiago (1-1, 7.11 ERA) will make his second start for the White Sox since returning to the team for a third tour of duty.
Santiago lost to Detroit on Aug. 6 when he gave up five runs (four earned) and seven hits over 4 2/3 innings. The 31-year-old struck out five and walked two.
Santiago began the season with the New York Mets (-1.5) and was designated for assignment on June 15. He elected to become a free agent three days later when the Mets attempted to outright him to the minors. He signed a minor league deal with Chicago on June 20.
Santiago was with the White Sox from 2011-13 and again last season. He is 14-14 with a 3.78 ERA in 128 appearances (35 starts) for the club.
Left-hander Jose Suarez (2-4, 6.57 ERA) will be on the mound Saturday for the Angels.
The 21-year-old has lost three straight starts, posting a 10.22 ERA during the stretch. He gave up six runs (four earned) and seven hits in three innings in a 10-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates (+1.5) on Monday.
Suarez will be facing the White Sox for the first time in his career. Santiago has no decisions and a 4.05 ERA in four career games (one start) vs. the Angels.
–Field Level Media