Covey good again, but White Sox fall to Indians, Kluber
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Opposed by two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, White Sox right-hander Dylan Covey had no margin for error.
He did all he could to win a ballgame but couldn’t.
For a second consecutive start Monday, Covey pitched six scoreless innings against the American League Central champion Indians, same as he did Wednesday in Cleveland.
An outstanding effort, indeed.
But Kluber (20-7) was even better with seven scoreless innings, striking out 11, walking one and allowing four hits in the Indians’ 4-0 victory. Lifted after 96 pitches, Covey fanned seven and allowed one walk and six hits.
Adding a cutter to a mix that features a good sinker has given hitters a different look, and Covey got seven ground-ball outs after getting 14 Wednesday. On this night, he didn’t have to face Francisco Lindor, Michael Brantley or Jose Ramirez.
“Kind of a different lineup today than it was last time, so some of those guys hadn’t seen me,’’ Covey said. “But, yeah, definitely a big confidence-booster for me. I’ve known all year that I have the stuff; it’s just trying to find that consistency with it.’’
As soon as Covey (5.06 ERA) exited, right-hander Ian Hamilton, a closer at Class AAA Charlotte, served up a homer to Brandon Guyer leading off the seventh.
The Indians scored three in the ninth off Nate Jones, who gave up five hits, including Adam Rosales’ home run.
While inconsistent, Covey has had just enough flashes of excellence that “it doesn’t eliminate him from the possibility of being a part of [the rotation in 2019],’’ manager Rick Renteria said.
“These last couple of starts felt really good,’’ Covey said. “I got one more start to try to finish off the year strong, and we’ll see what happens.’’
Kluber is the Indians’ first 20-game winner since Cliff Lee went 22-3 in 2008, and the first Indian to win 20 games with 200 or more strikeouts since Gaylord Perry in 1974.
The Sox fell to 61-95.
Moncada gets a rest
Second baseman Yoan Moncada, who had the night off, needs two doubles to become the fifth Sox player 23 or younger to have 30-plus doubles, 15-plus homers and 60-plus RBI in a season.
Moncada would join Chet Lemon (1977), Frank Thomas (1991), Paul Konerko (1999) and Carlos Lee (1999).
Moncada (.232/.310/.395), who is winding down his first full season on a higher note, batting .289 in his last 30 games, might get another day off or more before the end of the season.
The Sox have six games left, and that would help Moncada, who with 210 strikeouts is 13 shy of the major-league record, avoid a dubious distinction.
“We’ll put him back in there [Tuesday] maybe,’’ Renteria said. “He’s swinging the bat well. Just a little bit of a day off for him, let him enjoy what he’s been doing … and then get back after it.’’
League of their own
Where Sox prospects rank in Baseball America’s Top 10 in each full-season minor league: Class AAA International League: No. 1, outfielder Eloy Jimenez; No. 2, right-hander Michael Kopech; Class AA Southern League: No. 1, Jimenez; No. 2, right-hander Dylan Cease; Class A Carolina League: No. 1, Cease; No. 5, outfielder Micker Adolfo; No. 10, outfielder Luis Robert.
Hector Santiago is a possibility, but Renteria hasn’t announced a starter for Wednesday, perhaps waiting to see if his bullpen would get used Monday. Santiago pitched to one batter in the ninth.
James Shields pitches Tuesday, and after a day off Thursday, Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito will work the day-night doubleheader Friday in Minnesota, followed by Carlos Rodon on Saturday and Covey on Sunday.
Abreu still out
It’s possible Jose Abreu, with an infection in his right thigh, might not play this season.
“He’s still healing,’’ Renteria said. “He’s got a significant opening there that’s got to close up. We’ll see how he manages it as we move forward here in the next couple of days.’’