Bullpen woes hardly are the only culprit behind the Chicago White Sox's sluggish first two months.
Still, the club appears primed to take a big step toward solving the issue as the Los Angeles Angels visit Monday to open a three-game series.
Chicago closer Liam Hendriks on Sunday posted an Instagram message with Monday's date and the words "See you soon on the Southside," which could be a nod to his impending reinstatement from the injured list. Hendriks hasn't pitched in 2023 after undergoing offseason treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Hendriks has thrown multiple live batting practice sessions to teammates following a rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte.
"He's filling up the zone and getting some outs," said Chicago catcher Seby Zavala, who faced Hendriks on Friday in Detroit. "The stuff looks good. I think it comes down now to how he feels. You talk to him, he says he's feeling good."
The White Sox squandered a chance on Sunday to split their four-game weekend series against the Detroit Tigers as relievers Joe Kelly and Reynaldo Lopez faltered in the ninth and 10th innings, respectively.
Chicago rallied for four runs in the seventh inning to take a 5-4 lead but was unable to hold on. Eric Haase's 10th-inning sacrifice fly was the difference for Detroit in a 6-5 victory.
Right-hander Michael Kopech (3-4, 4.24 ERA) will get the call for the White Sox in the first game of a six-game homestand. After pitching to a 7.01 ERA in five April starts, Kopech is 3-1 with a 1.99 ERA through five starts in May.
"I'm back to trusting my stuff," Kopech said. "The first few starts of the season, I was kind of searching, trying to feel what it felt like to throw my stuff with confidence again. Now I feel everything working out front."
After winning five of six to start a nine-game homestand, the Angels were swept by the Miami Marlins over the weekend.
Rookie Eury Perez and five Marlins relievers teamed on a five-hit shutout on Sunday in the series finale. That snapped Los Angeles' streak of 94 straight games without a shutout loss, a mark that was tops in the majors and dated to Aug. 21, 2022.
Three of the Angels' hits went for extra bases, including a Gio Urshela triple.
"We're getting on a plane now and leaving this behind," Los Angeles manager Phil Nevin said. "You know, it's not a good taste in our mouth, obviously, after the way the homestand was going. At the end of the day, we won more than we lost, but ... we didn't play our best this weekend. That's no secret."
Righty Griffin Canning (3-2, 4.95 ERA) is set to start for the Angels as he seeks to win consecutive starts for the second time this season. Canning pitched seven shutout innings Tuesday to defeat the Boston Red Sox, scattering two hits and three walks while striking out five.
Kopech is 1-2 with a 3.86 ERA in three career appearances, including one start, against the Angels.
Canning won his only previous start against Chicago, pitching seven innings of five-hit, one-run ball with one walk and eight strikeouts on Aug. 18, 2019.
--Field Level Media