DETROIT — When Michael Kopech or Eloy Jimenez comes up to the White Sox for a late-season sniff of the major leagues — if they come at all during what’s left of the 2018 season — it won’t have anything to do with what the current players on the 42-76 Sox team that fell to the Tigers 9-5 are doing.
So don’t look for Kopech (the No. 13 prospect in baseball according to MLB Pipeline), who is 3-0 with a 1.89 ERA, 50 strikeouts and four walks in his last six starts at Class AAA Charlotte, to come up just because starter Dylan Covey is pitching like he should get pulled from the rotation. And don’t expect Jimenez, the No. 3 prospect who hit his 11th home run for Charlotte and 21st between there and Class AA Birmingham, to be deemed closer just because he’s better than Nicky Delmonico or Ryan LaMarre.
“The timeline for those young men in our system has nothing to do with the outcome or performance of the guys who are here,’’ manager Rick Renteria said Monday, “in terms of changing whatever it is we’re looking at as an organization and when we’re going to bring somebody up.’’
The organization’s focus, Renteria said, “is on the guys who are here.”
Guys such as Reynaldo Lopez, who was spotted a 3-0 lead in the third but got nicked for runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings of his too-short five-inning outing. Lopez has the best arm in the Sox’ rotation, but he hasn’t strung together three quality starts since early June.
“He didn’t locate his breaking balls,’’ said catcher Omar Narvaez, whose home run in the sixth inning against Drew VerHagen pulled the Sox into a 4-4 tie. “He didn’t have anything today. We were trying to fight, but when you don’t have a good feeling for anything, it’s kind of hard to fight.’’
Lopez walked one but threw 91 pitches, 54 for strikes. He struck out two and allowed four runs and seven hits.
“I honestly felt good today physically and mentally,’’ Lopez said. “I was focused. But I didn’t have the command or the control of my breaking pitches. Sometimes you have to compete with all that you have, and today it was just the fastball.’’
“You could see he didn’t have a good feel for his breaking ball,’’ Renteria said.
Lopez and the relievers who followed him got into deep trouble with Tigers right fielder Nick Castellanos, who went 5-for-5 with two doubles, a tie-breaking two-run home run against Jeanmar Gomez (0-1) in the seventh and a two-run single against Juan Minaya in the eighth. It was the first five-hit game of Castellanos’ career. It was his sixth game with five RBI, his last coming against the Sox on June 16.
“He’s not missing mistakes right now,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘We didn’t execute, to be honest. We had him in two-strike mode a couple of times.’’
The Sox cut the gap to 6-5 on Adam Engel’s second home run in two games and his fourth of the season in the eighth.
They loaded the bases with nobody out in the third against Artie Lewicki on Engel’s double, Delmonico’s hit by pitch and Yolmer Sanchez’s bunt single. Jose Abreu’s sacrifice fly, Daniel Palka’s RBI single and Avisail Garcia’s sacrifice fly gave Lopez that three-run cushion.
The Tigers, 9-1 against the Sox, scored in five of the eight innings they batted.