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Covey sharp but White Sox can't solve Kluber

September 24, 2018

CHICAGO -- As he emerged into one of the best pitchers in baseball, Corey Kluber has also dominated the White Sox. Over his past 10 starts against Chicago dating back to May 2016, Cleveland's starter went 8-0 with a sparkling 2.00 ERA.Monday's series opener was no different.The White Sox couldn't

CHICAGO -- As he emerged into one of the best pitchers in baseball, Corey Kluber has also dominated the White Sox. Over his past 10 starts against Chicago dating back to May 2016, Cleveland's starter went 8-0 with a sparkling 2.00 ERA.
Monday's series opener was no different.
The White Sox couldn't solve Kluber through seven scoreless innings, striking out 11 times, as Dylan Covey went tit-for-tat with the Indians' ace and threw up six zeros of his own. Ultimately, a Brandon Guyer leadoff home run in the seventh inning against reliever Ian Hamilton made the difference in Chicago's 4-0 loss to the Tribe at Guaranteed Rate Field.
"Kluber did the same thing he's continued to do," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "He got us quite a few times, and he just did what he does, and then you have Miller come in and Allen, they have a pretty nice setup there."
Kluber's ERA in his past 11 starts against the White Sox fell to 1.81 as a result, and the righty became a 20-game winner for the first time in his career.
The closest Chicago came to making any noise occurred in the second inning. Omar Narvaez led off with a single and advanced to third on Nicky Delmonico's one-out single. But Tim Anderson and Jose Rondon struck out, marking the only time the White Sox reached third base against Kluber.
Covey, meanwhile, has pitched well enough this season to be considered a rotation option for 2019. He owns a 12-inning scoreless streak over his past two outings -- both against the Indians -- and with Michael Kopech sidelined all of next year and the uncertainty surrounding James Shields' return given his $16 million option, Covey figures to be in the picture.

"I think it's premature for me to tell you where we're gonna be when we go into the offseason," Renteria said, "but sure, does he merit consideration? Absolutely. Has he shown that he's possibly capable of doing it on a more consistent basis? Absolutely."
And even though Monday's Indians lineup was without Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez and Michael Brantley, Covey managed to work himself out of several jams. Covey pointed to the Indians' unfamiliarity with his pitches as a key to his success Monday night.
"Some of those guys hadn't seen me, but yeah, definitely a big confidence booster for me," Covey said. "I've known all year that I have the stuff, it's just been trying to find that consistency with it. I think me and [catcher Kevan Smith] have really found a groove with each other, just with pitch-calling and how he's setting up behind the plate for me, giving me a good visual. Things are just working out for me."
"Even last start [in Cleveland], I didn't start that game, but just watching and seeing the swings and how he did, he's got good stuff, man," Guyer said of Covey. "He was pitching really good."
Cleveland tacked on three insurance runs in the ninth off Nate Jones, who made his fifth appearance since coming off the disabled list (pronator strain) on Sept. 11. Monday marked Jones' first runs allowed since his return.
SOUND SMART
Covey has had his run of tough luck out of the rotation in terms of run support. In each of his past seven starts, the right-hander has received one or zero runs to back him.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Indians second baseman Adam Rosales slugged his first home run of the season Monday and stretched the definition of home run "trot" to its extreme. Rosales sprinted around the bases, going from home to home in 16.23 seconds. That's the fastest home-to-home time in MLB this season, and only Rosales' fifth-best home-to-home time.

HE SAID IT
"I'll see those swings and those takes when it comes back in on them in there; I can see the uncomfortable at-bat they're having. It's just like it's another weapon to play with for me." -- Covey, on developing his cutter
UP NEXT
The White Sox continue their final home series of the year with a 7:10 p.m. CT start against the Indians. Shields (7-16, 4.48 ERA) goes for the hosts, making his last scheduled start of the 2018 season. He'll finish the year with at least 33 starts for the 10th time in the last 11 seasons. Trevor Bauer (12-6, 2.21) starts for Cleveland.

Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.