Houston: Tony Sipp retired all four batters he faced on Saturday, which doesn’t mean his troubles are over. But it might mean that he’s on the right track.
“He threw strikes,” manager Manny Acta said. “He faced a couple of lefties, and he took advantage of that. It can help build his confidence. What Tony needs is to pitch. That’s the only way he’ll get better.”
In his past eight appearances, Sipp has given up eight runs in 8⅓ innings. He still gets left-handed batters out, limiting them to a .184 average, but righties are batting .349 against him.
“When he doesn’t make his pitch, they hit it,” Acta said. “But we need him here. He’s throwing 91-93, so it’s still there. We can’t just go on the idea of ‘What have you done for me lately?’ This guy has been very reliable for the last few years, so have to trust him.”
PENDING — Acta said no decisions have been made about Jeanmar Gomez, who has posted a 7.92 earned-run average and a 1-5 record in his past six starts.
“We talk,” Acta said, referring to conversations he has had with General Manager Chris Antonetti. “It’s out there. We haven’t made a decision.”
Mechanics are part of Gomez’s problem.
“That’s an issue that’s come up when he’s pitching from the stress,” Acta said.
If Gomez is optioned to Triple-A to make corrections, Zach McAllister would be summoned to replace him. McAllister has compiled a 5-2 record and 2.98 ERA at Columbus, and his next start is Thursday, which also will be Gomez’s next scheduled turn.
TRIBE IS ALSO-RAN — The Indians finished behind the White Sox in the race to acquire Kevin Youkilis.
Chicago made the deal late Sunday afternoon, sending reliever Zach Stewart (1-2, 6.00 ERA) and utility infielder Brent Lillibridge (.175, 63 AB) to the Red Sox. In addition to a wrist injury that has kept him out of the lineup much of the season, Youkilis, 33, has been mired in the worst slump of his career and carries a .233 batting average.
“He’s going to make them a better team,” Acta said. “He’s been there, done that, so it doesn’t get any easier for us.”
The Tribe trails the White Sox by ½ game in the Central Division race.
FARM FACTS — Matt LaPorta hit his 16th home run of the year, singled and drove in two runs, as Columbus beat Lehigh Valley 3-2. Zach McAllister gave up two runs and nine hits, walking none, in six innings. … Bo Greenwell tripled, singled and had two RBI, and Carlos Moncrief doubled, singled and drove in one run in Carolina’s 9-8 win over Wilmington in the first game of a doubleheader. In the second game, Ronnie Rodriguez had two hits and two RBI in Carolina’s 6-5 win. … Ryan Battaglia tripled, doubled and drove in three runs, as the Arizona League Indians beat the Brewers 13-2. Tyler Booth and Joshua McAdams each doubled, singled twice and drove in two runs.
— Sheldon Ocker