White Sox

Dylan Covey struggles again but appears to keep spot in White Sox’ rotation

For whatever reason, it appears Dylan Covey will make another start for the White Sox.

Covey allowed six runs and seven hits over 2 2/3 innings in a 9-7 loss Sunday to the Cleveland Indians. During a four-run first, Covey allowed Melky Cabrera’s three-run home run and needed 28 pitches to get through the inning. The second didn’t go much better, as Covey gave up RBI singles to Jason Kipnis and Yandy Diaz.

Sunday was only a continuation of the issues for Covey, who has struggled badly other than in May, when he compiled a 2.38 ERA. He entered Sunday with a 5.32 second-half ERA and a 6.75 mark in August. He lost for the eighth time in his last nine decisions and hasn’t won since beating the Mariners on July 21, when he threw 8 1/3 scoreless innings.

But instead of announcing that somebody else with more to show — such as Michael Kopech — will start soon, manager Rick Renteria sounded ready to hand Covey the ball again for his next turn. That said, the Renteria left himself an out to make a switch with Covey, who has a 6.06 ERA in 16 starts.

Dylan Covey of the White Sox pitches against the Cleveland Indians during the first inning on August 12, 2018 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

“[Pitching coach] Don [Cooper] and I will sit down but, until further notice, he’s still in the rotation. If we need to make an adjustment, we will, I’m sure,” Renteria said. “But we need him to continue to gain more experience in that starter’s role. As much as we can, to continue to give him a chance to try to develop his skill set.”

Other than that strong May and other brief flashes, the developments haven’t been pretty for Covey. He’s allowed four or more runs in nine of his last 11 games, and if he’s still auditioning to be a part of the future Sox rotation, his chances are likely getting worse by the outing.

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Yet unless something changes after a conversation between Renteria and Cooper, Covey will probably get another chance before Kopech or whomever else.

“Every opportunity he gets is helping him build and understand what he’s capable of doing,” Renteria said. “We’ve seen him go through three, four innings where he’s really, really good, and all of a sudden it starts to falter a little bit. But we have to allow him to continue to do what he does and give him an opportunity to learn what he’s about.”

The learning experiences have piled up for Covey. His issue Sunday was pretty easy to see, and it cost him early against the first-place team in the AL Central.

“I feel like I was trusting my stuff today. I just feel like where I was throwing my stuff wasn’t the right spots,” Covey said. “Like I said, trying to go up in the zone too much. Everything I have has action down, so if I’m down in the zone it’s harder for hitters to lay off off-speed [pitches] that might be in the dirt and it’s harder for them to get barrel on the fastball.

“Showing up in the zone is good, but not as much as I was trying to do today. They were ready for it. Good fastball-hitting team. I just need to be better with that.”

In the third, Renteria ended Covey’s day after he walked Greg Allen. It doesn’t seem like that moment was the end of Covey’s time in the rotation.

“We’ll just continue, as it stands right now, he’s absolutely still in the rotation,” Renteria said, “and trying to allow him the opportunity to gain some ground.”