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Robin Ventura likes White Sox’ competitive nature despite loss to Angels

KANSAS CITY MO - MAY 19:  Zach Putnam #57 Chicago White Sox throws fifth inning against Kansas City Royals

KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 19: Zach Putnam #57 of the Chicago White Sox throws in the fifth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on May 19, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 477583439

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The facts: 9:05 p.m., CSN, 670-AM, 97.5-FM.

The pitchers: Chris Sale (5-0, 1.59 ERA) vs. Matt Shoemaker (3-1, 4.03).

Updated: July 8, 2014 6:20AM

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Why not us?

Manager Robin Ventura didn’t quite go there to promote a rallying cry for the White Sox, who, after losing 99 games last season, are considerably better and wondering if they can hang near the Tigers in the American League Central for at least awhile longer.

“It’s the mentality and the competitive nature of the team more than what their record is,’’ Ventura said. “Their focus day-to-day, of coming in and putting yesterday behind them, is pretty good. And to deal with injuries and not have it put you in a tailspin is pretty good.’’

Andre Rienzo will have to put Friday behind him after he got roughed up for seven runs and failed to finish the fourth inning in the Angels’ 8-4 win that dropped the Sox (31-31) back to .500. The Sox have won 10 of their last 17 games in large part because of their starters pitching to a 2.03 ERA over their previous 15 games.

Rienzo, who had given up more than three runs only once in his eight starts, gave up a homer to Kole Calhoun leading off the first, and it was all bad from there. He allowed nine hits before Ventura replaced him with long reliever Scott Carroll, who entered with the Sox trailing 7-1 and did not give up a hit until Albert Pujols hit his 15th homer leading off the eighth inning.

Alejandro De Aza homered for one run against Jered Weaver, and Adam Dunn singled in the other.

Dunn hit his 450th career homer in the ninth.

In closing

Ronald Belisario got saves with consecutive perfect ninth innings against the Dodgers on Tuesday and Wednesday. Belisario (4.78 ERA) had blown saves in two of his previous three outings, but Ventura didn’t overreact.

“He had a couple of games where we didn’t make plays, and he had another game where they hit balls inside the baseline,’’ Ventura said.

“He’s a ground-ball pitcher, and he was still getting grounders. And his psyche never changed, which is good. I never had the feeling he wasn’t going to be able to do it.’’

A rest for Flowers

Taking advantage of the day off Thursday, Ventura gave Tyler Flowers a two-day rest by having switch-hitting Adrian Nieto catch Rienzo on Friday. Ventura said it made sense with Weaver pitching for the Angels.

“I don’t think that’s fun for any right-handed hitter, so the mental break’s pretty good, too,’’ Ventura said.

The draft

In rounds 3 through 10 Friday, the Sox drafted three college pitchers to go with Carlos Rodon of North Carolina State and Spencer Adams of White County (Georgia) High School in the first and second rounds. In all, the Sox have taken eight college players.

Third-round left-hander Jace Fry of Oregon State was 11-2 with a 1.80 ERA. Fifth-round right-hander Zach Thompson has a mid-90s arm and good breaking ball but posted a 4.64 ERA at Texas-Arlington. Between them, the Sox took Rodon’s college catcher, Brett Austin, a good hitter who some project as an outfielder.

With the exception of left-hander Brian Clark of Kent State in the ninth round, the Sox went with position players — three middle infielders and center fielder Louie Lechich — in the sixth through 10th rounds. The three-day draft concludes with rounds 11 through 40 Saturday.


Twitter: @CST_soxvan

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