You might be forgiven if you assume that Reynaldo López was part of the package received in the José Quintana trade, because López slid into JQ’s ND territory all too comfortably in the Chicago White Sox-Minnesota Twins doubleheader opener on Tuesday.
López’s masterpiece, seven innings of one-hit ball (four walks offset four strikeouts, driving his game score down to 76) was wasted by Nate Jones, a 2-0 cushion rendered a 2-4 deficit in the space of four batters.
To be fair, the base tap that fueled the two-out rally off of Jones in the eighth was a very generous scoring call for Minny, as Yolmer Sánchez couldn’t handle Brian Dozier’s ground ball. But from there, an Eddie Rosario walk and Miguel Sano single cut the White Sox lead to 2-1. And then ...
... well, let’s flash first to the first, when Yoán Moncada brutalized the second pitch of the game, a juicy fastball, deep to center field to put the White Sox up, 1-0.
This interlude is provided because, well, with two runners on and White Sox killer Eduardo Escobar at the plate, fighting the shadows as the clock closed in on 6 p.m., Escobar turned on an even juicier fastball from Jones and deposited it at nearly the same center field spot.
Unfortunately for Chicago, Escobar’s clout counted for three runs, and was enough to earn the victory, 4-2.
López was simply brilliant, again, inducing soft contact all evening. The sole hit off of him was a masterful swipe by Escobar, who took a 97 mph out-and-up fastball to left-center for a ground-rule double.
If López is looking for justice from the baseball gods, he’s going to have to wait awhile. And, probably, for a better bullpen.
In the White Sox’s 6-3 nightcap win, life proved unfair, as is often the case in baseball.
While López was forced to feast on a sparse diet of two runs over seven innings and saw his second victory of the season shoplifted in the eighth, the considerably more imperfect Lucas Giolito was buoyed by six Sox runs in the first four innings of his start.
Chicago did almost all the damage it needed to in the top of the first, with José Abreu clocking a two-run shot to center field, chased by a Kevan Smith RBI single and Adam Engel RBI double.
And in the fourth, it was Sánchez who provided two insurance runs, with a two-run double (advanced to third on a throw home) to left-center. Moncada at first made a cautious read on the long fly ball, then motored home as if running for his life, with a tight turn at third allowing him to slide home easily with Chicago’s sixth run of the game.
Giolito departed after six innings, having yielded six hits, two earned runs and two walks, for a game score of 55. He wasn’t sharp, but bowed his neck as needed and muscled his way to his fourth win against six losses.
The bullpen made things a little hairy after Giolito departed, with Jace Fry and Hector Rondón a little shaky and Joakim Soria walking the tightrope in the ninth for his fifth save.
Credit also due Smith, who played his first game back with the White Sox in the nightcap and was cited several times during the broadcast for framing strikes that were ... not strikes. When was the last time we’ve heard such mischief working in the White Sox’s favor?
- Per CSN stats maven Chris Kamka, the efforts by López and Giolito tonight was the first time since Aug. 2, 1990 that two White Sox pitchers 24 or younger both threw at least six innings and surrendered two runs or less in a doubleheader. The pitchers in 1990, up at County Stadium in Milwaukee? Alex Fernandez and Melido Perez.
- Escobar went 5-for-8 with two doubles, a homer and five RBI vs. the White Sox in the doubleheader. In seven games this season vs. Chicago, he is 11-for-26 (.423) with four doubles, a homer and nine RBI.
- In the first at-bat of the opener, Daniel Palka smashed the second-hardest hit ball this season, a 118.4 mph double to the right-field corner. Only Aaron Judge, with a 119.9 mph single, has hit a ball harder this year. Per Mike Petriello, Palka has five of the top six and six of the top eight hardest-hit balls on the White Sox this year, all 115 mph-plus.