CLEVELAND -- The two starts for Reynaldo Lopez prior to Wednesday afternoon's 9-1 Cleveland victory at Progressive Field arguably were the best of the season for the White Sox right-hander.In 15 innings combined thrown against the Rangers and Tigers, Lopez allowed two earned runs on seven hits with 11 strikeouts
CLEVELAND -- The two starts for Reynaldo Lopez prior to Wednesday afternoon's 9-1 Cleveland victory at Progressive Field arguably were the best of the season for the White Sox right-hander.
In 15 innings combined thrown against the Rangers and Tigers, Lopez allowed two earned runs on seven hits with 11 strikeouts and five walks. Lopez matched that run total allowed in one inning against Cleveland, as the Indians completed a three-game sweep and dropped the White Sox to a Major League-worst 16-37. The 21 games under .500 represents the team's low mark for the 2018 campaign, as they finished their six-game road trip at 1-5.
"I was feeling good. I was feeling strong. I was feeling probably at my best capacity during the whole season today," said Lopez through interpreter Billy Russo. "But sometimes in your better days, the results aren't there. I don't know how to explain it, but I was feeling good and was feeling strong and my pitches were good. Just sometimes you can't explain it."
An argument can be made Lopez didn't pitch quite as poorly as his season-worst seven runs allowed on eight hits in 2 2/3 innings would indicate. According to Statcast™, the average exit velocity among his 73 pitches checked in at 81.8 mph with a maximum of 100.6 mph. The Indians still made more than enough solid contact to give Corey Kluber plenty of run support in this matchup of each team's top starter.
Cleveland put four of its first five hitters on base to start the game. The Indians put five straight on base against Lopez to start a five-run third, including a two-run Melky Cabrera double eluding Daniel Palka's diving effort in right, and Jose Ramirez and Edwin Encarnacion went back-to-back against reliever Chris Volstad in the fourth.
Kluber, who improved to 8-2, worked six scoreless innings over 90 pitches. He fanned 10, yielded singles to Yoan Moncada and Matt Skole and Tim Anderson's fifth-inning double and didn't issue a walk. Yolmer Sanchez's solo home run in the ninth, covering 449 feet to right-center, ruined the Indians' shutout bid.
"Ultimately we didn't do a whole lot of scoring," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "Kluber was Kluber. He did a very nice job, Cy Young award winner. Did a great job of keeping us truthfully off the bases."
The White Sox clubhouse was closed for 25 minutes following the team's 13th loss in its last 15 road games. A team meeting took place, although nothing was directly revealed postgame concerning what was discussed.
"About us. We don't like to say what we talk about, but it was about us," Sanchez said. "We talk to each other every day -- we need to do this and that. And try to stay together, that's the most important thing, to stay together and come together because if we win, we win together and if we lose, we lose together."
"It's very frustrating because we know that we have a lot of talent. We have guys with a lot of talent," Lopez saaid. "For whatever reason, things are not getting to our side. The only thing we can do is keep working hard and sooner rather than later things are going to change, and we are going to be better."
HE SAID IT
"Every day we do our best, no doubt. I know how hard we've been working. If we don't get results, we come the next day and do the best we can and do the little things and figure out how to win."-- Sanchez, on the White Sox
The big news for Friday at Guaranteed Rate Field is White Sox reliever Danny Farquhar being scheduled to throw out a first pitch prior to the series opener against the Brewers. But there will be Interleague baseball for the White Sox as well, with Hector Santiago getting the call for a 7:10 p.m. CT first pitch. Santiago threw one inning and 13 pitches in relief on Monday against the Indians, but that effort was considered a side day following his Saturday start. Chase Anderson will start for the Brewers.
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.