While Renteria focuses on present, future Sox pitchers inch closer
Can we just get Reynaldo Lopez here already?
With top prospect Yoan Moncada up since July 19 giving White Sox fans a taste of the future, they want to see more of what’s next now that the talented second baseman has whet their collective whistle.
Lopez, 23, named the organization’s minor-league pitcher of the month Wednesday, is as ready as he’ll ever be. In fact, he’s beyond that, having logged 44 innings for the Nationals last season and a team-high 116 at Class AAA Charlotte this year. For the Knights, he’s 6-6 with a 3.65 ERA and 122 strikeouts and trending with a 2.16 ERA with 54 strikeouts in his last eight starts, allowing two or fewer runs in each.
The Sox (41-64) won’t say when they plan to bring up Lopez, but next weekend at home against the Royals feels like a nice landing spot.
Lucas Giolito (Chris Sale trade) might not be far behind Lopez, as well as fellow righties Carson Fulmer (first round, 2015) and Tyler Danish (second round, 2013). All have limited major-league experience.
“It hasn’t been a huge conversation,’’ manager Rick Renteria said. “Right now we’re still focused on the guys that are here. Are we having very mild, light conversations? Yes. But nothing is concrete in terms of decisions we’re going to make.
“We’re still looking at the landscape, and we’ll take our time.’’
Renteria probably has a better feel than he’s letting on. But in the meantime, the Sox trudge ahead with a rotation of Derek Holland, Miguel Gonzalez, Carlos Rodon, James Shields and Mike Pelfrey. Pelfrey, who hasn’t pitched six innings or won since June 17, described his latest bad outing Tuesday (six runs in 5‰ innings) as “the same crap that’s been going on for a month.’’
“My command is terrible,’’ he said.
Pelfrey will oppose Sale, the American League Cy Young favorite, in the finale of a four-game series against the Red Sox, which opens Thursday in Boston.
Holland contributed a quality start by allowing two runs in six innings in the Sox’ 5-1 loss to the Blue Jays, who won for the second time in the three-game series and handed the South Siders their 19th loss in the last 23 games, but those have been few and far between. Sox starters rank last in the AL with 34 quality starts.
“You have to [stay positive],’’ Holland said. “We just have to keep plugging away. We’re not going to win every game, and we’re not going to lose every game, either. We have to keep fighting and not get caught up in these things just because it’s a rebuilding process.’’
Holland went into the game with an 0-4 record and 9.09 ERA in his previous seven starts. Shields is 2-3 with a 6.19 ERA, Rodon is 1-4 with a 5.23 since coming off the disabled list and Gonzalez is 5-9 with a 4.59 ERA.
On the more acceptable side, Gonzalez has allowed five runs in 19„ innings (2.33 ERA) since coming off the disabled list, and Rodon gave up a run in 6‰ innings against the Indians in his last start, his first good one in the last four.
The Sox know where they stand. They believe they’ll be standing taller in the future.
“It’s all positive from here on out,’’ said catcher Kevan Smith, who batted cleanup for a team thinned out by trades and injuries. “That’s the focus with the coaching staff and what they’re bringing to the clubhouse and understanding that we’re young.
“But that’s not an excuse not to win. Of course, we want to win. It’s just growing pains, and it’s part of learning to play with each other, and it’s getting better each day.’’
It could get better with an infusion of fresh blood in the rotation, not only in the coming years but right now.
Reynaldo Lopez, come on down.
Follow me on Twitter @CST_soxvan.