After three straight flagging starts and two without a convenient injury to pin problems on, we can conclude that 2017 Dylan Covey is trying his damndest to shove the glory that had been 2018 Dylan Covey straight off the roster.
Covey started Wednesday’s game gangbusters, retiring the first nine Cincinnati Reds. But then came the fourth, when the righthander walked Scott Schebler and then suffered a death of a thousand paper cuts — five singles, a plunked batter and a suicide squeeze by pitcher Sal Romano.
For the low, low price of just two outs, the Reds had taken a 6-2 lead, providing well more offense than they would need in a 7-4 win over the Chicago White Sox.
Covey’s fall was swift, reducing his pitching line to 3 2⁄3 innings, five hits, six earned, one walk, two Ks and a 34 game score.
White Sox pitching snuffed Cincy otherwise, with the exception of the demon eighth inning, when Chris Volstad worm-burned a throw home with the sacks packed, allowing Eugenio Suarez to score. Chicago has surrendered runs in five straight eighths on this road trip.
On offense, Daniel Palka and Yoán Moncada homered, the latter providing another classic ESPN White Sox moment, as “color commentator” Rick Sutcliffe remarked that Moncada shouldn’t be in the majors right now literally seconds before the second baseman went deep to center for his two-run blast.
Adam Engel, taking advantage of likely his last opportunity to play in front of his hometown fans as a member of the White Sox, went 2-for-4, with a comically bad CS in the seventh inning coming on the ass end of a strike-him-out-throw-him-out.
One key moment in the demon eighth came with the White Sox batting, after Leury García came through with his second pinch-hit single in as many games. José Abreu was on second base after a one-out walk, and the mildly curious decision by Ricky Renteria not to pinch-run for his hobbled hitter paid dividends — for Cincinnati. García should have notched a second straight pinch-hit RBI single, but Billy Hamilton threw a strike home from short center, nailing Abreu with ease. What could have been a 6-5 game, with ducks on the pond and two outs, turned into a sad trombone rally kill.
Volstad’s gakked toss home in the eighth aside, the White Sox bullpen again firewalked with aplomb, filling out the game with 4 1⁄3 innings, three hits, one run, two walks and six strikeouts. The firemen today include Luis Avilán, Bruce Rondón, Xavier Cedeño, Volstad and Juan Minaya.
It’s as if the White Sox have adopted “The Opener” starter strategy, but haven’t bothered to tell anybody.
Well, the White Sox are 2-4 on their road trip through hellish humidity so far, with four games in Houston to finish things up, starting tomorrow.