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White Sox, looking to the future, routed by Astros

HOUSTON — Class AA Birmingham right-hander Dylan Cease and outfielder Luis Basabe were selected Friday to represent the White Sox in the Futures Game during All-Star week.

For an organization that is all about the future, news such as this will get a headline almost every time.

Especially on nights such as Friday, when the Sox lost 11-4 to the defending World Series champion Astros. The result dropped the Sox to 2-6 on their road trip and to 30-58 for the season.

‘‘To have those two guys join [the Futures Game], it’s awesome for them, awesome for the organization,’’ manager Rick Renteria said. “We’re excited for their opportunity to show the world who they are and what they’re about, and I hope they have some success, allow themselves to shine and have some fun.’’

Reynaldo Lopez pitches in the first inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on July 6, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Renteria managed his own futures game at Minute Maid Park, as he does every time 24-year-old Reynaldo Lopez takes the mound for the Sox. During a season in which 2015 first-round draft pick Carson Fulmer was demoted from the starting rotation to
Class AAA Charlotte and Lucas Giolito has avoided the same fate despite struggling with a 6.93 ERA and 54 walks in 89 2/3 innings, Lopez has set himself apart on a team hoping to form a championship-caliber rotation for the future.

Lopez wasn’t all that good against the Astros, searching in vain for his good fastball, getting through only 4 2/3 innings and needing 97 pitches (53 strikes) to do it. He allowed three runs and six hits, walked five and struck out two.

‘‘It wasn’t a good outing,’’ Lopez said. ‘‘Too many issues, too many balls. Every time I wanted to throw hard or get more, my arm didn’t respond. It was tough.’’

In time of grief, White Sox prospect Michael Kopech still aiming to be the best
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With a 3.77 ERA, the best among Sox starters, Lopez is easily the best developing pitcher they’ve got, considering the struggles of Giolito and Fulmer (3-5, 5.80 ERA at Charlotte); the control problems of No. 1 pitching prospect (by MLB Pipeline) Michael Kopech at Charlotte; a sore arm and now a slow start for No. 3 pitching prospect Alec Hansen (0-3, 7.71 ERA) at Birmingham; and an elbow injury to No. 4 pitching prospect Dane Dunning at Birmingham.

On the outfielders’ side, July got off to a treacherous start with Charlotte’s Eloy Jimenez and Class A Winston-Salem’s Luis Robert, ranked as the No. 3 and No. 25 prospects in baseball by MLB Pipeline, going on the disabled list and Winston-Salem’s Blake Rutherford leaving a game after flipping over the right-field wall chasing a deep drive.

But enough of the gloom — aside from Astros right-hander Lance McCullers striking out 12 batters in seven innings and taking a no-hitter into the sixth — and back to the Futures Game on July 15 in Washington. Cease, the Sox’ No. 2 pitching prospect who was acquired from the Cubs with Jimenez in the trade for left-hander Jose Quintana, is 10-2 with a 2.95 ERA and 105 strikeouts in 16 starts between Winston-Salem and Birmingham. He will play for the U.S. team.

The fleet Basabe, the third name behind second baseman Yoan Moncada and Kopech in the deal with the Red Sox involving left-hander Chris Sale, is batting .246/.346/.450 with nine homers, seven triples, 12 doubles and 34 RBI in 73 games between the same two teams. He’ll play for the World team.

Perhaps they can provide some better prospect news.

Avisail Garcia and Daniel Palka hit back-to-back opposite-field home runs in the ninth against the Astros, so there was that. But Garcia jumped and overran a fly ball that fell inside the right-field line during a seven-run Astros uprising in the eighth.

It has been that kind of year.