Justin Verlander, at age 36 no less, once again dominated the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night in Houston’s 5-1 victory.
The righty threw eight innings of one-hit ball, giving up just one run and striking out 12. The Sox can only hope Michael Kopech can turn into that sort of explosive pitcher. Verlander is pitching arguably his best baseball of his career — he has certainly reinvented himself in Houston.
Jose Abreu broke up Verlander’s no-hitter in the seventh inning, launching a 416-foot home run to center field. Let’s take a moment to thank Houston for removing that hill in center field because Houston centerfielder Jake Marisnick likely would have caught it.
Other than Abreu, the Sox offense looked lost for a second straight night. Yoan Moncada and Eloy Jimenez combined to strike out seven times in, um, their seven at-bats. Tim Anderson was the only White Sox to not strike out.
Jimenez did impress in the field with a nice sliding grab in the third inning. Jimenez’s route to the ball likely did not break any Statcast records, but everything was still intact when he got up. Leury Garcia also made a nice catch (30% catch probability) in center field in the first inning.
White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Covey was cruising along until he hit the fifth inning. Covey allowed just one run through four innings, on a Yuli Gurriel home run in the fourth.
Covey walked the first two batters of the fifth inning and started the next batter with two balls. Ricky Renteria saw enough and called on Aaron Bummer to try to clean up the mess. Bummer threw two more balls that at-bat to Josh Reddick, so that walk was credited to Covey.
Regardless, the inning continued going horribly wrong for Bummer and the White Sox. The lefty then gave up a walk, double and single to help the Astros open up a 5-0 lead. You’re not coming back against the Astros down five runs, especially when you have Yonder Alonso and Welington Castillo taking at-bats.
After the game, José Ruiz was rewarded for his scoreless inning of work with a ticket back to Triple-A Charlotte, with a corresponding roster move to come on Wednesday.
Sox fans knew this road trip would not be a lot of fun. Well, that has certainly been the case watching these last two games.
With the team already falling back to a 90-loss pace on the season with tonight’s loss, things won’t get any easier tomorrow, as Gerrit Cole takes the hill for the Astros. Go get ‘em. boys!