We can add Jose Berrios to the list of starting pitchers who dominate the White Sox.
In his first four starts against the Sox in 2018, Berrios in 27 innings racked up 27 strikeouts to just four walks carrying a 2.33 ERA. His combination of mid-90’s fastball and breaking pitches have given Sox hitters fits all season long. It was going to be a tough afternoon and start to the doubleheader for the Sox.
Countering Berrios on the mound was Reynaldo Lopez, who has been terrific since August 1st. In ten starts, Lopez has given up only 18 earned runs in 59.2 innings with 60 strikeouts to just 15 walks. The stage was set for a pitcher’s duel between two 24-year olds.
Berrios came out of the gates hot striking out the side in the first inning. Minnesota fared better against Lopez as they had the bases loaded after a Joe Mauer single, Jake Cave double, and Robbie Grossman walked. With just one out, Tyler Austin hit a slow chopper up the middle that Lopez should have been able to field. If so, there was a play at the plate or even an opportunity to turn two. Instead, Lopez missed the grounder, and Leury Garcia completed the play to first for the second out, but Mauer scored to make it 1-0 Twins.
Sox wouldn’t get their first base runner until the third inning when Welington Castillo singled through the infield shift to right field. Tim Anderson hit into a fielders choice with Castillo getting forced out at second base. Adam Engel was the second out popping out in shallow left field. Yolmer Sanchez kicked off the two-out rally with a single to right field moving Anderson to third base. Runners on the corners, Leury Garcia, hit a grounder up the middle that Twins second baseman Gregorio Petit stopped. The diving attempt slowed down his throwing process to first base, and Garcia was able to beat the play out for an infield single. Anderson scored from third, and the game was tied 1-1.
Both teams had chances in the fourth inning getting two runners on base, but neither could capitalize. Lopez and Berrios locked down in the fifth inning going three up, three down.
The sixth inning is when Lopez started to unravel. Despite two mound visits, Lopez walked the bases loaded with no outs putting the Sox in hot water. Max Kepler popped out in the infield for the first out giving Lopez brief hope he was a groundball double play away from getting out of the jam. Instead, Twins folk hero Willians “La Tortuga” Astudillo swung at the first pitch and hit a medium fly to center. Adam Engel made the easy catch for the second out, but his throw to home hit the pitchers mound. That allowed Cave to score from third and the Twins took the 2-1 lead.
In the eighth inning, it appeared for two seconds that Avisail Garcia was going to tie the game hitting a deep fly to right field. If only it traveled three feet further it would have ended up in the bleachers, but instead, it ricocheted off the wall, and Max Kepler played it perfectly off the bounce to limit Avi to just a single. Daniel Palka struck out swinging to end the threat.
Trevor May closed the door for Minnesota striking out Kevan Smith and Castillo to end the game, 2-1. Jose Berrios threw seven innings limiting the Sox to just three hits but walked four. Strikeouts piled up on the Sox again as Berrios struck out nine batters and the Twins staff in total had 12. Lopez’s sixth-inning skewed his final numbers, but in his last start of 2018 threw six innings allowing four hits, two earned runs, five walks and five strikeouts finishing with a season ERA of 3.91.
Record: 62-97 | Box Score
Reynaldo is as big of a bright spot as Eloy and Cease for me this season. First full season in the bigs and he faced some really tough times, but he battled and had a really strong season. Good for you ReyLo.