White Sox 5, Royals 2: Reynaldo Lopez bounces back

Reynaldo Lopez had a tough act to follow. A day after Lucas Giolito pitched another masterpiece keeping the Kansas City Royals scoreless, striking out a career-high 11 batters, and his recent seven-start streak propelling Giolito to lead the American League staring pitchers in WAR according to FanGraphs.

It was just a season ago that White Sox fans felt confident with each Reynaldo Lopez start and sweated when Lucas Giolito on the mound. In hopes of trying to turn the season around, Lopez for the fourth time in 2019 stood on the hill against the Royals.

Like Giolito yesterday, Lopez received early offensive support from an Eloy Jimenez big blast. In the second inning, Royals starter Glenn Sparkman hung a slider over the heart of home plate that Jimenez crushed 471 feet for a solo home run, his eighth in 2019.

Sox offense added another run in the frame when Yolmer Sanchez reached on an error by third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez and would score on Charlie Tilson’s double down the left field line to make it 2-0.

Lopez held the Royals scoreless through three innings but made his first mistake in the fourth against Jorge Soler. To keep the slugger off balance, Lopez threw an 84-mph changeup that Soler was waiting for and smashed into the left field fountains for a solo home run cutting the lead to 2-1.

That home run ended up being the only blemish on Lopez’s afternoon. Throwing 96 pitches, Lopez struck out eight while walking just one over six innings of work. Out of 46 fastballs, Lopez only had two swinging strikes but had better luck with the breaking stuff getting 13 swings and misses on 43 pitches. The changeup was not much of a factor as Lopez only threw seven of them.

Yoan Moncada extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a four-hit afternoon including a two-out single in the seventh pushing the Sox lead to 3-1. In 12 games, Moncada is now 19-for-49 (.388 batting average) against the Royals in 2019.

It was a 4-1 game after the eighth inning when Jimenez doubled down the left line and advanced to third on a fly ball from Welington Castillo. With two outs, the Royals opted to pitch to Tim Anderson, and he made them pay by splitting the gap between center and left field for an RBI double, his 10th double in 2019.

The White Sox made it 5-1 on an error by Nicky Lopez in the ninth inning, and it was a good thing that the offense provided some cushion.

Manager Rick Renteria replaced Lopez with Evan Marshall in the seventh who allowed a single to Nicky Lopez but left him hanging at first base extending his scoreless streak to 14 innings. Aaron Bummer walked Billy Hamilton to lead off the eighth but picked up two strikeouts to keep the Royals at one run.

Because the Sox were in no longer a save situation, Renteria went to the struggling Kelvin Herrera. After getting ahead 1-2 in the count against Soler, Herrera couldn’t find the pitch to get Soler to chase. The nine-pitch battle resulted in a walk, and that became a problem when Herrera gave up a double to Cheslor Cuthbert allowing Soler to score all the way from first base to make it 5-2.

With closer Alex Colome warming up, Herrera struck out Gutierrez and got Nicky Lopez to ground out to Abreu at first base. Martin Maldonado wrapped up with a grounder to Tim Anderson who quickly threw him out ending the game and series.

Game Notes:

  • White Sox are now 8-4 against the Royals in 2019, and 1.5 GB of Cleveland in the AL Central
  • Moncada’s great afternoon pushes his batting average to .294 on the season
  • Dylan Covey was placed on the Injured List prior to the game for right shoulder inflammation. Thyago Vieria was called up from Charlotte to replace Covey, but as for the starting rotation it appears that Odrisamer Despaigne is on his way to Chicago.

Record: 31-33 | Box Score | Highlights

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Josh Nelson
Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson is the host and producer of the Sox Machine Podcast. For show suggestions, guest appearances, and sponsorship opportunities, you can reach him via email at josh@soxmachine.com.

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Trooper Galactus

Eloy’s OPS now at .713. He’s slowly climbing his way to where we all thought he would (and needs to) be offensively. Also, awesome to see Moncada and Anderson put together the seasons they have. Both are well on pace for 5+ bWAR/fWAR this season, and that’s incredible.

Willardmarshall

Cease didn’t make it out of first inning….

PauliePaulie

Really hope he’s not hurt.

Trooper Galactus

Botched double-play ball by Palka and a passed ball by Collins elevated his pitch count and they pulled him because they didn’t want him having a super high stress inning (40+ pitches). It was to protect him more than anything.

PauliePaulie

Good to hear. Saw only 20 of 40 pitches were strikes and was concerned a velo drop was going to be the next report.