Angels oppose White Sox with playoff hopes all but gone

CHICAGO -- The Los Angeles Angels are clinging to life in the American League wild-card race as they face the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night.

And with the Minnesota Twins' game in Cleveland scheduled to start an hour earlier, the Angels' postseason hopes could be dashed before their game is over.

Minnesota (83-74) leads Los Angeles (78-79) by five games with five to play for the second AL wild card.

"We're in it," said Angels right-hander Parker Bridwell, who earned the victory Tuesday as Los Angeles beat Chicago 9-3. "We're not out yet. We've still got a chance. We've got to be optimistic. I'm excited to see where it goes. Things have to fall in place for us, but you never know."

Los Angeles sends right-hander Garrett Richards (0-2, 1.50 ERA) out for his sixth start of the year and fourth on the road. Richards, whose season was derailed for five months after sustaining an arm injury in his first start, returned Sept. 5.

Richards did not factor in the decision Friday in Los Angeles' 3-0 loss at Houston despite throwing six scoreless innings and giving up one hit and a walk while striking out six. It was his longest start of the season and longest since April 25, 2016, against the Kansas City Royals.

In three road games this season, Richards has allowed one run in 14 innings. He is 2-1 with a 3.62 ERA in nine career games (three starts) against the White Sox.

While the Angels still aspire to reach the postseason, Chicago (64-93) continues to look toward next season.

At the top of the White Sox's list of prospects is Yoan Moncada, who returned to the lineup Tuesday after a nagging shin injury flared up Monday. He went 0-for-3 with a walk.

The second baseman, the consensus No. 1 minor league prospect entering the year, has five home runs, 11 RBI and five multi-hit efforts in his past 16 games. He has raised his average from .179 to .233 in that span.

"His at-bats are really good, he's obviously got a good eye," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said this week. "One of the things he's been focusing on is trying to see and learn how pitchers are attacking him, how they're trying to get him out. I think he's staying on more pitches now."

Moncada was called up from Triple-A Charlotte on July 19, went on the disabled list in late August with shin splints and returned to the White Sox on Sept. 5 vowing a full-tilt effort.

"I am going to do all that I know, to perform at the best level I can," he said through an interpreter upon his return. "I have to do my best to get results. That's the only way I know how to play baseball."

A recent surge -- four wins in their past six games and 10 of their past 17 -- has helped the White Sox avoid 100 losses for the season in what seemed to be an inevitable last-place finish.

Now they will try to protect their two-game lead on the Detroit Tigers and maintain their hold on fourth place in the AL Central.

Chicago right-hander Reynaldo Lopez (3-3, 4.54 ERA) will make his eighth start of the season Wednesday, the first of his career against the Angels.

Lopez is 3-1 with a 3.55 ERA over his past four outings, including three quality starts. He won his third consecutive game Friday against Kansas City, working 6 1/3 innings and allowing six runs (two earned) on 10 hits. He had no walks and no strikeouts.

The White Sox conclude the season with three games at the AL Central champion Cleveland Indians. The Angels return home for three weekend games against the Seattle Mariners.
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