Many Chicago White Sox players have taken steps forward this year.
Yoan Moncada, Tim Anderson, Aaron Bummer and Lucas Giolito have all performed much better than what they showed in 2018. Their progress is what GM Rick Hahn and Sox fans wanted to see.
But Reynaldo Lopez is the one Sox player who has taken a huge step back, and that was on display in the Sox’s 9-5 loss to the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night.
The Sox’s 5-0 lead after two innings never felt comfortable as the game progressed. Lopez danced around trouble in the first inning, escaping a jam by blowing a predictable 95 mph fastball past Matt Adams.
Lopez gave up his first two runs in the third inning after Anthony Rendon poked a double into the right-center gap to cut the deficit to three.
Howie Kendrick replaced an injured Brian Dozier and made the most of his appearance. Kendrick launched a solo shot in the fourth inning off another Lopez fastball.
The big blow came in the fifth inning. Lopez allowed a double to Trea Turner on an 0-2 pitch, walked Adam Eaton and gave up a three-run home run to Rendon (he’s a free agent after this year...). Ricky Renteria saw enough and pulled Lopez after the at-bat.
So, Lopey’s final line was four innings with five hits, four walks and six earned runs. Just...bad.
But unfortunately, Sox fans could see this coming. Lopez got himself into jams all the time in 2018 and somehow managed to get through them. His fly ball and home run rates were concerning, and an inability to locate really any of his pitches has hurt him.
Here’s something to do in Lopez’s next outing...watch James McCann set up and see how much his glove moves to catch Lopez. The amount of times Lopez misses his spots is rather disappointing. Maybe we can set him up with Giolito’s high school coach?
As for the offense, the four-run first inning was the only successful rally the Sox put together. Yoan Moncada demolished a baseball 458 feet with a 112.5 mph exit velocity into the right field seats.
Moncada led off the fifth with a walk and moved to third on a Jose Abreu double, but the Sox would strand them right there. McCann and Anderson grounded out, and Eloy Jimenez struck out. That was one of the big momentum shifts of the game — you have to get at least one there.
The Sox will look to split the series in an afternoon game tomorrow with Dylan Covey on the mound. Anibal Sanchez will pitch for the Nationals.