CHICAGO -- The first words White Sox manager Rick Renteria said to Dylan Covey following an 11-1 drubbing of the Orioles on Wednesday night were very simple and straight to the point."I told him, 'Great job,'" Renteria said. "He said, 'I've been working really hard.' And he has."After beginning his
CHICAGO -- The first words White Sox manager Rick Renteria said to Dylan Covey following an 11-1 drubbing of the Orioles on Wednesday night were very simple and straight to the point.
"I told him, 'Great job,'" Renteria said. "He said, 'I've been working really hard.' And he has."
After beginning his Major League career with 13 winless starts, Covey picked up career win No. 1 without much nail biting. Covey, who came up from Triple-A Charlotte to replace Carson Fulmer in the South Siders' rotation, allowed one run over a career-high seven innings while striking out eight at Guaranteed Rate Field in front of his wife, dad and father-in-law. The White Sox improved to 5-2 on their current eight-game homestand.
Covey recorded eight losses and five no-decisions over his first 13 career starts. His streak of 13 consecutive winless starts to open his MLB career was the longest in White Sox history. The last MLB pitcher to open his career with 13 winless starts was Colorado's Jon Gray (2015-16), and the last with 14 or more was Minnesota's Liam Hendriks (17 between 2011-12).
As a Rule 5 pick last year, Covey was unfairly overmatched in 2017 with only six games of Double-A experience on his resume. The season was tough for the right-hander, but it helped set up his growth in '18.
"Obviously, I wasn't ready, I don't think," Covey said. "But I think that it taught me more than I could ever have learned at any level in Minor League baseball. Starting in Triple-A this year, I had that year of experience, and it helped me a lot. It helped me more than I can say. I'm happy with where I'm at now, and I'm super comfortable."
"That was nice for him, his first career victory in pretty convincing fashion," Renteria said. "The ball had a lot of action, topping out at 96 [mph] today. Good angle, great movement on all his pitches. He threw a lot of strikes. Not a lot of hard contact."
Down 1-0 after two innings, the White Sox offense gave its full support to Covey with four in the third, two in the fourth and three in the fifth, with six runs charged to Orioles starter Alex Cobb. Yoan Moncada's three-run homer in the third gave the White Sox a lead they never wouldn't relinquish, while Adam Engel hit a two-run homer in the fifth, his first of the season, en route to a 4-for-4 game that matched his career-high in hits. He also set a career-high with three runs scored.
"Just trying to get in a rhythm," Engel said. "The last couple days, I've been trying to feel a little bit of rhythm and less tension in the swing and trust in what I've been doing."
Wednesday night marked the fourth time this season the White Sox have scored 10 or more runs, an offensive output that was capped by Jose Rondon's two-run homer in the seventh. It was Rondon's first Major League homer, capping off a night of firsts. The 24-year-old was a late inclusion in the White Sox lineup, with Matt Davidson being scratched due to back soreness.
"It was a very impressive game," Rondon said through interpreter Billy Russo. "It was a nice game for us. Dylan got his first victory and my first homer. We were having fun in the dugout for this game and it was good. I felt good.
"I've seen [Covey's] evolution. I played with him in Charlotte. Every outing was better and better and better for him. Today, he was good. Just to have an opportunity to see that with one of my teammates, you feel happy for him, because I know he has been working hard."
Jose Abreu, who finished 2-for-5 and raised his average to .309, has 10 doubles, two homers and 13 RBIs over his last 15 games. He also has nine multi-hit games in that span.
HE SAID IT
"It's just a confidence builder, just confidence in what you're doing. We can work and everybody in the big leagues works, it's just a matter of working at the right things for different guys at different things, just confidence in what we're working on, what's gonna help you get more results." -- Engel, on his four hits raising his average to .212.
Lucas Giolito wraps up the White Sox eight-game homestand with his first career start against Baltimore on Thursday with a 1:10 p.m. CT first pitch. Giolito earned his second consecutive win on Saturday against Texas, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits and two walks while striking out three over six innings. He has struggled at home this season to the tune of a 10.19 ERA and .286 batting average against over four starts. Dylan Bundy will start for the Orioles.
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.