CHICAGO -- There might be more publicized stories of accomplishment across the 2018 Major League Baseball landscape. But there are few better tales than that of White Sox right-hander Dylan Covey.Covey shut down the Indians on Wednesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field in a 3-2 White Sox victory, the second
CHICAGO -- There might be more publicized stories of accomplishment across the 2018 Major League Baseball landscape. But there are few better tales than that of White Sox right-hander Dylan Covey.
Covey shut down the Indians on Wednesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field in a 3-2 White Sox victory, the second straight for Rick Renteria's crew over the American League Central-leading Indians, who fell to 35-31 overall. The right-hander had his scoreless-innings streak ended at 13 and his streak without allowing an earned run end at 18 frames when the Indians scored twice in the eighth. But with runners on second and third and one out after a Yonder Alonso run-scoring double, Jace Fry fanned both Melky Cabrera and Jason Kipnis to maintain the lead.
"He's been excellent all year. I left him in a tough situation, second and third, no outs. And he did just about as good as you could do," said Covey of Fry. "I'm just super comfortable with my mechanics, with my pitches. I'm throwing offspeeds for strikes, I'm throwing my curveball for strikes. It's just all about comfort for me right now."
"I thought he pitched a pretty good game, we just couldn't string enough hits today," said Cleveland manager Terry Francona. "He made some pitches, he sinks the ball really well, so you're always a pitch away from getting that ground ball."
This is the same Covey, who, as an overmatched Rule 5 Draft addition in 2017, finished with an 0-7 record and a 7.71 ERA covering 70 innings pitched, 18 games and 12 starts. Not even one year later, Covey has won his last two starts in pitching matchups with Chris Sale and Trevor Bauer, both of whom have good chances to be All-Stars. Covey exited with nobody out in the eighth to a standing ovation, with his ERA sitting at 2.29 for the season. He yielded two runs on 10 hits with five strikeouts and no walks.
Bauer was every bit as good as Covey, striking out 12 in 7 2/3 innings. But a leadoff walk to Tim Anderson in the fifth, after being ahead 1-2, sparked a two-run White Sox rally to give them the lead. Charlie Tilson tripled home the first run, and Trayce Thompson's squeeze bunt scored Tilson. Kevan Smith added a two-out RBI single in the sixth, scoring Jose Abreu after his 26th double, as the White Sox won for the eighth time in 13 games even with only four hits.
"Our starting pitching has been great, our bullpen has been excellent," said Covey, who won back-to-back games for the first time in his career. "We have some timely hitting, some really good offensive execution. We have a couple squeeze bunts in the last few games to get us an extra run on the board. Everything is just clicking for us right now."
"It's been awesome," Tilson said. "Our pitchers have been great. Hopefully, we can keep the ball rolling."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
No double play? No problem: With runners on first and second in the first inning, Edwin Encarnacion hit a ground ball to second baseman Yoan Moncada that should have been an inning-ending double play. Instead Moncada bobbled it twice, but recovered in time to throw out Encarnacion at first. Covey had to make five extra pitches but struck out Alonso to end the threat.
The White Sox bullpen has thrown 23 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings and has a 1.65 ERA in June, the second-best mark in the Majors.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Abreu is not known as much for his defensive skills, but he showed hard work has paid off with a flashy play to end the seventh. Abreu gloved Greg Allen's grounder, stepped on first base and then fired across the diamond to Yolmer Sanchez to double up a sliding Kipnis trying to advance from second to third.
"One of those things where he showed his field awareness on that play," Renteria said. "It was a quick runner, tags the base, turns around quickly, he's got a good arm and throws a strike over there, and Sanchey does a nice job putting the quick tag on Kipnis. Just a great play."
HE SAID IT
"Just strikes. He's allowing the action that he creates in his pitches to work and they're more effective in the zone. So even if he's trying to hit a spot and that ball dives, it's got action." -- Renteria, on what has changed with Covey in 2018
Carlos Rodon makes his second start of the season and his first at home during Thursday afternoon's series finale against the Indians at Guaranteed Rate Field, with a first pitch of 1:10 p.m. CT. Rodon lost his debut Saturday to Boston, but he is 4-1 with a 2.34 ERA over 10 career appearances (nine starts) against the Indians, who will counter with righty Mike Clevinger.
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.