The Chicago White Sox rebuild (circa Winter 2016) still doesn’t have a complete game pitched by a starter, but tonight Dylan Covey gave it a serious run. Holding Seattle hitless for five innings and shutting them out for 8.1 innings, Covey returned to his early season form as the White Sox win 5-0.
It was a matter of which pitcher would blink first as Felix Hernandez came out of the gates strong. Keeping Sox hitters off balance mixing in his changeup, Hernandez racked up seven strikeouts for the evening. Covey’s approach was a bit different by getting Mariners hitters to hit grounders routinely. In the fourth inning is when the tide changed in this contest.
Hernandez allowed a lead-off single to Yolmer Sanchez and then hit Jose Abreu with a pitch to give the Sox their first serious chance of scoring. After Daniel Palka lined out to second base, Avisail Garcia returning from the disabled list smacked his 10th home run of 2018 to put the Sox up 3-0. On the very next pitch, Omar Narvaez doubled to center continuing the rally. He would score off Leury Garcia’s single, and the Sox gave Covey a comfortable 4-0 lead.
In the past month, things any lead hasn’t been comfortable with Covey on the mound, especially when facing the lineup a second and third time. Tonight was different as Covey said on the television broadcast that his fastball was the best pitch he had tonight. Covey only allowed one base runner from the fifth to eighth inning as Seattle couldn’t make good contact against him.
The Sox scored an additional run in ninth with base hits from Narvaez and a double from Nicky Delmonico, his first since returning from the disabled list. Narvaez would score on Tim Anderson’s fly ball to right field by stepping around the catcher’s tag attempt at home. Sometimes sliding isn’t always the best choice.
Whatever drama was left in this game rested on Covey’s shoulders. Already approaching 100 pitches, manager Rick Renteria decided to let Covey try for the complete game shutout. After Dee Gordon flew out to left field, Jean Segura singled to center. At 105 pitches, Renteria decided that was enough and lifted Covey for Joakim Soria. Covey’s final line was 8.1 IP 2 H 0 R 2 BB 5 K, and this performance lowered his season ERA to 4.95.
After Covey left, Soria’s first pitch to Mitch Haniger was lifted to deep left field, but Leury Garcia timed his jump just right and made a spectacular grab to rob a home run. Soria would strike out Nelson Cruz to end the game, and boosting his trade value in the process.
Avisail Garcia was 1-for-4 with the three-run home run, but also struck out three times as it seems he’s more focused on power than taking his walks. Omar Narvaez’s had another multi-hit game going 2-for-3, and now has a .790 OPS for the season. Yolmer Sanchez is starting to find a groove as he went 2-for-4. Jose Abreu had a weird night at the plate going for 0-for-1 with a walk and was hit by a pitch twice. Too bad those don’t count towards OBP (EDIT: I’m an idiot. They do.)
With the victory, the White Sox are just 6.5 games back of Detroit in the standings, and Seattle is still 19 games above .500, but now with a run differential of -5.
Record: 34-63 | Box Score
Small point but I’m pretty sure HBP get counted in OBP.
Oakland seems like a better team than Seattle. I’m betting they will over take them within the next few weeks
Is Navarez turning into a legit starting catcher right before our eyes?
He’s so bad behind the plate, though.