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Trio of arms a silver lining for Sox in loss

@scottmerkin
August 8, 2020

CHICAGO -- About six weeks ago, White Sox rookie Zack Burdi was watching a pitching video on Twitter -- sent to him by a buddy’s father who coached them in travel ball -- that helped him make some mechanical changes. Those adjustments played a part in Burdi’s impressive scoreless inning

CHICAGO -- About six weeks ago, White Sox rookie Zack Burdi was watching a pitching video on Twitter -- sent to him by a buddy’s father who coached them in travel ball -- that helped him make some mechanical changes.

Those adjustments played a part in Burdi’s impressive scoreless inning during his Major League debut Saturday in a 7-1 loss to the Indians at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Box score

“All the kid [in the video] thought about was, ‘Load and drop your hips,’” Burdi said. “I don't know why. I don't know what that did for me. But it did something for me, and it definitely did a huge 180 in the confidence and the way I'm approaching the game, day in and day out.

“It was very similar to how I threw, and my mechanical problems, and I took it and I used it, and I brought it to coaches I was working with at the time. We figured out the correct sequencing and from there, it wasn't a huge gap. It seemed more like I had forgotten to do it for the last three years, and whatever that video had and whatever the reason was, it kind of brought everything back together.”

Notes: Bummer to IL; Burdi, Anderson arrive

Burdi was able to feel himself riding down the mound again, and the way his arm was working three years ago was all returning. The 26th selection overall in the 2016 MLB Draft fought his way back from Tommy John surgery, right knee surgery and, at times, a slight velocity drop to get to a Major League mound.

Once known to hit 100 mph with his fastball at Louisville, Burdi threw eight fastballs above 98 mph on Saturday and topped out at 99.2 mph, per Statcast. He struck out Beau Taylor and César Hernández as part of a scoreless sixth.

“It's definitely been nice to be back in that sync and that swing of things,” said Burdi, MLB Pipeline’s No. 19 White Sox prospect.

Matt Foster pitched two scoreless innings in his first career start and Ian Hamilton allowed nothing over 1 2/3 innings. Together with Burdi, their efforts provided a snapshot of potential late-inning, high-leverage bullpen work to come.

Drew Anderson didn’t perform quite as well in his White Sox debut, allowing six runs in 1 1/3 innings as the South Siders lost for the third time in four games. Anderson pitched a scoreless third in relief of Foster during a designated bullpen day in place of the injured Carlos Rodón, but allowed six runs on four hits and two walks in the fourth. Franmil Reyes and Jordan Luplow went deep off of Anderson, giving Luplow six home runs against the White Sox over the past two seasons.

Manager Rick Renteria’s goal was to work Anderson at least three innings and maybe four, placing a long reliever behind Foster, who struck out three.

“I'd definitely [start] again. It was really different,” Foster said. “Obviously, I'm used to coming in six, seven, eight. I was thinking about it a lot. That could be a bad thing. But I didn't really know what to do with myself until like 30 minutes before game time. I was like, 'I probably need to get out there.'”

While the debut of Burdi, who resides in Downers Grove, Ill., a western suburb of Chicago, served as a highlight, the White Sox lack of offense continued to be an issue. Yoán Moncada’s 448-foot home run gave Chicago just 9 runs in its last 44 innings, with Renteria seeing the team a little flat on Saturday.

“We are playing a lot of games in a row, just like everybody else. It’s not to make an excuse. It is what it is,” Renteria said. “It’s not that they are trying to be flat or trying to not give you energy. It’s just that you have to find a way to propel ourselves.

“No one is going to give us anything. You don’t just turn on and turn off offenses. They are grown through a process: Focus, concentration and a prepared attack. When we do that, we are really good. For me, it’s just a blip. We have to keep playing and keep fighting.”

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.