KANSAS CITY -- It was a nightmarish first inning followed by a promising 4 2/3 innings for Dylan Covey in the White Sox 4-3 loss to the Royals at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.
Covey walked three of the first four hitters he faced, then went to a full count against Brandon Moss and surrendered a 430-foot grand slam. It was the full extent of Kansas City's offense for the day, and it was all the Royals would need even though they were outhit, 13-4.
"Lesson learned," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said while reflecting on Covey's outing. "He started going after the hitters. I think he'll use that. It's one more experience to draw from."
Covey hit the reset button quite well. Although Chicago had multiple opportunities to catch and pass Kansas City thanks to seven shutout innings from its pitchers and a pesky offensive attack, falling into a 4-0 hole proved too much to overcome.
"Halfway through the Moss at-bat is when I started kind of getting in a rhythm," Covey said. "Unfortunately, he got hold of one. But the walks were really what did me in."
Covey retired 11 of 12 after the Moss grand slam, and he wound up allowing just two hits in his 5 2/3 innings. Thus, he continues to keep his name on the radar as the White Sox evaluate what their pitching staff might look like in 2018.
Covey had a conversation with pitching coach Don Cooper after the game, and the subject of first-pitch strikes was prominent.
"Coop said that when you throw first-pitch strikes and get ahead of guys, that's your game right there," Covey said. "Try to get them out with three pitches or less. I'm trying to do that. It just took me too long to figure it out in this game.
"The walks put me in a hole. I was able to grind through it and pitch good the rest of the way. But I need to make the adjustment sooner."