After shaky start, Banuelos to work on command

May 9th, 2019

CLEVELAND -- The Indians claimed a 5-0 victory over the White Sox on Thursday afternoon at Progressive Field, giving Cleveland a split in a four-game home set after Chicago claimed the first two.

But the final box score should have included a victory for Mother Nature, or a loss depending on how one looks at it. After a delay of two hours and 34 minutes, the contest was called after five innings because of a persistent rain falling and a forecast of more, although there was a period of about an hour where not much precipitation seemed to be coming down during the delay.

In fact, the grounds crew went to work in preparing the field, only to stop, re-cover it and be hit by another brief deluge.

“Today was kind of a weird rain delay,” White Sox catcher James McCann said. “It looked like there was a good amount of time we could have played, but it is what it is. Days like this is where you have to be really focused to get on top early, because something like this can happen.”

Chicago managed a first-inning Jose Abreu single and a fourth-inning Yonder Alonso double, but nothing else over five innings against Tribe starter Carlos Carrasco, who struck out six and didn’t issue one walk. McCann’s suggestion of getting ahead wasn’t in the cards against Carrasco, who is now 6-0 with five earned runs allowed over 55 innings in his last eight starts against the South Siders since the start of 2017.

Carrasco suffered a loss in relief to the White Sox on Sept. 25 of last season, but the Indians are otherwise 8-0 in those Carrasco starts. To present an idea of Carrasco’s dominance over Chicago, the ultra-talented Yoan Moncada is now 0-for-12 with 10 strikeouts lifetime against the Cleveland right-hander after fanning twice on Thursday.

White Sox starter Manny Banuelos did not get knocked around for 10 straight hits during his Thursday start, as he did in the third inning Saturday against Boston. The Chicago hurler also wasn’t tipping pitches as he thought was part of the problem in his last trip to the mound.

Banuelos still yielded five runs on eight hits and five walks over 4 1/3 innings, striking out five and getting touched up for two Jordan Luplow home runs. All White Sox parties agreed after the game that Banuelos’ command needs to improve.

“He has enough stuff,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “Offspeed, nice enough fastball. If he commands, he has a chance to still be effective.”

“It’s throwing too many pitches and falling behind in the count and having to come to a hitter instead of being ahead 0-2 or 1-2 and getting to make your pitch,” McCann said. “You gotta fill up the zone, and today it went in their favor, not ours.”

“I’m focused on the control, command of the fastball especially. Breaking ball is there. Figure out the command of my fastball,” said Banuelos, who threw 52 of his 91 pitches for strikes. “Hopefully they still have confidence in me. It was back-to-back bad outings, but I’m going to improve.”

A sort of symbolic White Sox moment took place during the Tribe's three-run fifth. The usually sure-handed Charlie Tilson slipped on the wet surface in right and did a back roll over on a Francisco Lindor fly ball that would have been the inning’s third out but instead fell to the ground for a gift run-scoring double. It was not the best day overall for Chicago, on an afternoon when their on-field time of one hour and 45 minutes was trumped by 49 minutes by the delay.