Showing posts with label Russell Martin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Russell Martin. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Reynaldo Lopez good, White Sox bullpen bad

Reynaldo Lopez
The White Sox lost for the first time this season Monday night, 4-2 to the Toronto Blue Jays, although it was not Reynaldo Lopez's fault.

The right-hander's 2018 debut was an impressive one. He went six innings, allowing only one run on two hits. One of those hits was a solo home run by Josh Donaldson, the other an infield single by Curtis Granderson that could have just as easily been an error on shortstop Tim Anderson.

Lopez struck out six and walked two, and the Sox led, 2-1, in the seventh inning when he left the game.

Alas, relievers Luis Avilan and Danny Farquhar could not hold the lead. We're told that Avilan is a lefty specialist, but the early returns have not been impressive in a small sample size.

In the season opener, Avilan gave up a ringing double to Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas. On Monday, he walked Granderson, allowing the tying run to reach base. Farquhar entered the game and served up a two-strike meatball to Russell Martin, who hit a two-run homer to put Toronto ahead, 3-2.

I don't like the home run at all, but I like the walk in a one-run game even less. Avilan has to get left-handed batters out -- that's his one purpose on the roster.

Farquhar (1-1) gave up another home run in the eighth inning, this one to Aledmys Diaz, that made it 4-2. I don't think this will be the last time the Sox struggle to get outs in the seventh and eighth innings of close games -- the bullpen is the biggest weakness of the team.

The Sox showed an ability to come from behind in each of their first two games, which is a good habit to get into. However, you can't come back every day, and the Toronto bullpen was up to the task the last two innings of Monday's game.

It's unfortunate, because a two-homer game from Welington Castillo went to waste, not to mention the strong outing from Lopez, whose performance would oftentimes be good enough to earn a win.

Monday, June 19, 2017

James Shields returns from DL; Miguel Gonzalez goes on DL

The White Sox had an overall good week -- they went 5-2 against two teams from the AL East, taking three of four at home against the Baltimore Orioles and winning two of three on the road against the Toronto Blue Jays.

However, the Sox (31-37) can't seem to shake their season-long problem of pitching injuries. Right-hander James Shields came off the disabled list to make his first start since April 16 on Sunday, but he was merely taking the spot of Miguel Gonzalez, who went on the 10-day disabled list with shoulder inflammation.

Now we know the reason Gonzalez has been so terrible lately. The right-hander has a 10.34 ERA in three June starts, and longer term, he's 1-8 with a 7.32 ERA over his past nine games. His season ERA is 5.49, well above his career norm of 3.97.

As for Shields, he was mediocre in receiving a no-decision in Sunday's 7-3 loss to the Blue Jays. And, honestly, mediocrity is all we expect from the 35-year-old declining veteran. He went 5.2 innings, allowing three earned runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and one walk.

Shields was one out away from getting through six innings with a 3-1 lead, but he couldn't close the deal. He easily retired the first two batters of the inning, but Troy Tulowitzki reached on a scratch infield single that hit the third-base bag. Shields then hung a slider to Russell Martin, who hit a game-tying two-run homer that hit the top of the wall and bounced over in right-center field.

That was Shields' final pitch of the day, and the Sox bullpen -- which has been solid most of the year -- was not solid on this day. Anthony Swarzak (3-2) gave up a single and a triple that allowed the Jays to take a 4-3 lead into the seventh inning.

Swarzak, Dan Jennings and Michael Ynoa combined to give up three runs in the bottom of the seventh as the Jays broke it open and salvaged the finale of the series.

Jennings was brought in to force switch-hitter Kendrys Morales to turn around and hit from the right side, and boy, did that move fail. Morales hit a two-run blast that hasn't landed yet. I've said it before this year, and I'll make the point again: Jennings is overused, having appeared in 32 of the Sox's 68 games. As we go along, his performance gets worse and worse.

The problem is that Jennings is the only left-hander in the bullpen, so he gets summoned to pitch to left-handed hitters on a frequent basis. Injuries have forced David Holmberg into the starting rotation, even though he is more suited to be the second lefty reliever.

Perhaps Holmberg could have kept Morales in the yard Sunday, but alas, he needs to stay in the rotation for now, with Gonzalez headed to the disabled list.