White Sox 3, Rangers 0: Reynaldo Lopez locks down series win

A White Sox starter finally went eight innings, and as a result, the White Sox finally won a series.

And Reynaldo Lopez finally picked up a win to show for it.

He pitched a beauty, limiting the Rangers to just two hits and two walks over eight scoreless frames. He both attacked the zone (68 of 107 pitches for strikes) and didn’t require an abnormal amount of good fortune (15 swinging strikes, 17 called).

He rebounded from a thumping in Pittsburgh with some extra giddy-up on his stuff. Brooks Baseball said he averaged 96.8 mph on his fastball, and he carried 96 into the late innings, including his last pitch of the day.

It looked like Renteria was going to call it an afternoon for Lopez with 7⅔ innings in the books after Lopez lost a seven-pitch battle to Delino DeShields Jr. The manager came to the mound, but didn’t signal to the bullpen immediately, and, as it turns out, at all. He let Lopez try to finish the inning, perhaps because the tying run was only on deck.

He fell behind 3-1 to Shin-Soo Choo, but got a foul ball to fill the count. On the sixth pitch of the at-bat and his 107th pitch of the day, he rode a 96 mph fastball over Choo’s bat for strike three. It seemed to mean a lot to him:

That was the only thing resembling tension after the third inning, and that was only of the dramatic variety. The Rangers never had the tying run to the plate after the Sox extended their lead to 3-0. He retired 14 of 15 at one point, and the only batter to reach was Jurickson Profar, who made it to first on a Yolmer Sanchez error. Nomar Mazara gave the next pitch a ride to center, but Adam Engel flagged it down on the track.

Jace Fry similarly made easy work of the ninth, getting a flyout and two strikeouts against a switch-hitter and two lefties. Mazara and Joey Gallo found it just as tough to take pitches as they did swinging at them. Fry now has pitched 8⅔ innings this season and has yet to allow his first hit.

The Sox built their 3-0 lead with a combination of long ball and small ball. Welington Castillo turned up the Beef with a long blast to left off Mike Minor in the second inning for the game’s first run.

An inning later, the Sox set the basepaths ablaze. Adam Engel led off with a single, then took third on a hit-and-run with Tim Anderson. Anderson stole second easily off Minor, then got a great read on Leury Garcia’s opposite-field flare to right.  When Choo threw home, I’d assumed that his main target was Engel, but Anderson was right on his six.

Minor and the Rangers bullpen kept the Sox in check after that, and they struck out 13 without issuing a walk on the day. Three runs turned out to be way more than Lopez needed.

Bullet points:

*The White Sox are now 1-12 in series against non-KC opponents.

*Matt Davidson’s patience backfired on him today. Not only did he wear a golden sombrero, but all four K’s were backwards.

*Castillo had the two hardest-hit balls, as he followed up his homer with a drilled double off the left-field wall.

*At two hours and 28 minutes, this was the fastest game of the year.

Record: 13-30 | Box score

 

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Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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asinwreck

Nice to see Fry make strides over last season.

sgp2204

He has looked fantastic so far. Hopefully he can keep it up and become a major piece in the bullpen going forward. 

Heck of a game from Lopez today as well. Very impressive. That being said, I can’t believe that Rangers team has 18 wins. 

lil jimmy

Fry
First pitch to Gallo. Gallo turned in like he might be plunked. The strike landed in the middle of the strike zone. I kept telling the TV. Do it again.

itaita

So this stuff with Fry is something to be encouraged about? I dont know if hes actually doing good work or if its like Albers a few years ago when we were just wanting for the shoe to drop and totally unravel.

tommytwonines

Fry’s just starting his career, unlike Albers.  24 years old. Maybe something here. 

sgp2204

That’s the gigantic difference. One is just starting his career, the other was ending his. Obviously these numbers aren’t sustainable for Fry, but it’s extremely promising. 

MadManx

Also Matt Albers is still a decent reliever in the league. Also, also Fry has been K’ing a lot of people and not walking anybody.

Patrick Nolan

Another big difference is that Fry has the peripherals to back up his performance. Albers never did.

soxfanpa

Like Fry could ever stretch a single into a double like Albers.

jorgefabregas

As MadManx says, Albers has been pretty good since leaving the White Sox. His bad stretch after the streak was a bit of an outlier in the context of his recent performance.

Beyond that, Fry has had much more strikeouts on a rate basis and has been fooling batters, getting more swings than Albers outside of the zone and getting them to take pitches in the zone (like that big breaking ball) more than Albers did. You can find the numbers for Albers’ Zone Swing percentage, outside zone swing percentage, contact percentage, etc. on the Plate Discipline tab of this for game log page: https://www.fangraphs.com/statsd.aspx?playerid=4300&position=P&type=8&gds=2015-08-04&gde=2016-05-01&season=

They also have glossaries that can explain these stats.

You can find his strikeout percentage on the Advanced tab. You can find the same things for Fry if you scroll down to the Advanced and Plate Discipline tables of his fangraphs dashboard (look at 2018 stats) https://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=16159&position=P

To some extent you can use the eye test to see whether he’s fooling batters (getting swings and misses, etc.)

Generally a pitcher getting strikeouts and avoiding walks is considered to be more reliable/sustainable than a pitcher who is relying on getting weak contact or relying on the batter hitting the ball to fielders.

The “just starting his career” thing cuts the other way too, it’s likely that one reason batters have been so fooled by Fry is that most of them haven’t previously hit against him.

Eagle Bones

You’re not operating on smoke and mirrors if you’re running a 16% whiff rate.

L2R

At last, a week end where I don’t need Minitab to find something to feel good about

dwjm3

A reference to Minitab on a baseball site lol…Running baseball regression models?

gibby32

Angel Hernandez should be charged with Davidson’s backward Ks. It’s weird because AH did not have a terrible day. But he abused Davidson.

PauliePaulie

Cafardo says Abreu is “likely” to be the next Sox player traded.
If the Rox would like to give up Colton Welker for him, yes please.

Right Size Wrong Shape

I stop listening immediately after the words “Cafardo says”…

sgp2204

I think you spelled Brendan Rodgers wrong

Brett R. Bobysud

Can someone clarify something for me regarding the current standings?

The Royals have a better winning % than the Sox do (.304 to .302), but the Sox are half a game ahead of the Royals in the standings?

karkovice squad

Royals have played 3 more games than the Sox. The Royals have 2 more losses than the Sox which would put the Sox a full game ahead of them in the standings. The Royals have won 1 more game than the Sox which would put the Sox a half game behind.

1 game up minus .5 game behind = .5 game up.

Another way of putting it is that presumably both teams will play the same number of games by the end of the season. In the meantime, the Royals are a game farther below .500 than the Sox.

Lurker Laura

Not gonna lie, the series win felt good.

L2R

LL, I haven’t had much to smile about this year when looking at baseball news but your avatar makes me laugh every time I see it but have no idea why. Maybe because the dog looks smarter than me.

Lurker Laura

He is very smart. And he likes to read.

ParisSox

Great game Lopez.  Suck it Patrick. ;). 
( Refereing to a personal beef in my head that Lopez is a damn fine starting pitcher and Mr. Nolan saying he hasn’t been based on the stats.  While Patrick was right, I couldn’t wait for a Lopez gem like this to show up.)

Trooper Galactus

I was quite pleased to see Lopez turn his peripherals around along with the rest of his line. That performance was aces.

Patrick Nolan

I am nothing but ecstatic at Lopez’ recent decision to have his peripherals back up his results.

MonicaMG

Should I admit I never heard the phrase “golden sombrero” before?
Anyway, great performance by Lopez I was happy for him and for me as fan…Mostly for me

StockroomSnail

Wait until you hear platinum sombrero.

Malkatraz

So at what point does Moncada stop switch hitting?

MrTopaz

I think we’ll have to put up with the frustration until he has more than one full season under his belt. Or his 25th birthday. Which is in two years.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Why be frustrated with Moncada? If you want to be frustrated there are so many other reasons on this team to explore.

MrTopaz

Just with his teething problems hitting from the right side.

zerobs

Happy that the manager left Lopez in to try to get Choo out. But mound visits like that often cause a pitcher to overthrow and lose the strike zone, which nearly happened. The way Lopez patted Castillo on the chest though made me wonder if it was Welington that convinced the manger to keep Lopez in.