White Sox

LIVE: After Dunn homer, Sox still trail 6-4

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LIVE: After Dunn homer, Sox still trail 6-4

Sunday, May 1, 2011
Posted: 10:58 a.m.

Associated Press

Zach Britton set a Baltimore Orioles franchise rookie record for wins in April.

A matchup against the woeful Chicago White Sox may only help his growing confidence.

Britton will try to win his third straight start Sunday and send the light-hitting White Sox to their fifth consecutive loss.

Britton is probably sorry to see April end after going 4-1 with a 2.84 ERA in his first month as a major leaguer. The 23-year-old left-hander has quality starts in four of five outings and is leading the club in wins.

"He's handled it pretty well for a guy with limited experience," manager Buck Showalter said. "We like the things he's doing right now."

No rookie starter with the St. Louis Browns or Baltimore Orioles ever won more games in April than Britton, who went six innings against Boston on Tuesday, allowing one run and five hits in a 4-1 victory.

"I really don't get that nervous out there," Britton said. "I don't know what it is. It's not that I have a huge ego or anything. I have a lot of confidence that I can get out of the jams, and if I'm out there getting all worried I think the situations blow up. So I try to take my time and take a couple breaths and get after it."

Britton takes the mound after Chris Tillman became the latest pitcher to shut down the White Sox in Baltimore's 6-2 victory Saturday.

After scoring five runs in the seventh inning in Friday's 10-4 win, Baltimore (12-13) had another big inning Saturday, scoring four in the eighth en route to its fourth win in five games. The inning featured a passed ball and error on Chicago catcher A.J. Pierzynski and a two-run single by Vladimir Guerrero.

The White Sox (10-18) have lost 14 of 17, scoring three or fewer runs 14 times during that span. They also have dropped four in a row overall, six straight at home and finished April with a club-record 18 losses for the month.

"Right now we're not scoring a whole lot of runs, but I think that is going to turn around, I really do," said Saturday's starter Phil Humber. "I've got all the faith in the world in these guys. ... Hopefully it turns around for us pretty quick."

In a particularly frustrating series of at-bats Saturday, Chicago had no outs and the bases loaded in the sixth, but scored only one run on a sacrifice fly.

Alex Rios homered in the ninth - just his third hit in the last 37 at-bats.

Manager Ozzie Guillen will return to the dugout Sunday after completing a two-game suspension related to comments made on Twitter following his ejection in Wednesday's loss to the New York Yankees.

Despite his team's struggles in the opening month, Gavin Floyd (3-1, 3.60) looks to win his third straight start after setting a career high in April victories.

Floyd gave up two runs, four hits and struck out a season-high 10 in eight innings of a 3-2 win over the Yankees on Tuesday.

The right-hander will try to extend that success to May against a team he's pitched well against. Floyd is 3-1 with a 2.55 ERA in five starts against the Orioles, including two wins last year. He allowed two runs over seven innings in each.

Baltimore shortstop Robert Andino is 7 for 14 with a home run in his last four games.
Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Reynaldo Lopez is changing his place in the White Sox rebuild: 'When I'm on the mound, I'm the best and I don't care about the rest'

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USA TODAY

Reynaldo Lopez is changing his place in the White Sox rebuild: 'When I'm on the mound, I'm the best and I don't care about the rest'

Rebuilds are full of surprises.

Fans can pencil in any names they want into their 2020 lineups, but there’s almost no one who’s going to have a 100-percent success rate when it comes to predicting exactly what the next contending White Sox team will look like.

Reynaldo Lopez carried plenty of hype when he was acquired from the Washington Nationals in the Adam Eaton deal prior following the 2016 season. He had a high prospect ranking before he was called up last summer. He hasn’t materialized out of nowhere.

But with names like Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech, Alec Hansen, Carlos Rodon and others to compete with for one of those coveted rotation spots of the future, was anyone going to use the term “ace” to describe Lopez?

Well, in this rebuilding season’s most pleasant surprise for the White Sox and their fans, that’s exactly what Lopez has been. He’s been hands down the team’s best starting pitcher, and he’s making the case that he shouldn’t be considered an ancillary piece in this rebuilding process but a featured one.

He might not be getting the attention that others are. But he’s doing the most with his opportunity of being at the big league level right now. In the end, as long as you’re getting batters out, who cares how much attention you get?

“It’s not about what people say or what they are talking about,” Lopez said through a translator. “It’s about the confidence I have in myself, and I have plenty of confidence in myself. For me, I’m the best. I’m not saying the other guys are not. I’m just saying that’s the confidence I have. When I’m on the mound, I’m the best and I don’t care about the rest.”

Sunday marked the best start of Lopez’s young career, so said the pitcher himself. He was terrific in shutting down the visiting Texas Rangers, holding them to just two hits over eight scoreless innings.

It was one heck of a bounce-back performance considering what happened last time out, when he was roughed up for six runs in just two innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The difference? His attitude, his focus, his intensity, his conviction.

“I just changed my attitude in the game,” Lopez said. “I was more positive today than I was in my last outing and that was one of my biggest differences.”

“I do think he came out a little bit more focused, to be honest,” manager Rick Renteria said. “The intensity level was a little higher today. I think he threw the first couple pitches 97, 98 miles an hour, where his last outing they were at 93, 94. There wasn’t a whole lot of commitment or conviction to his pitches (against the Pirates). I think, as we talked after the last outing, (pitching coach Don Cooper) spoke to him a little about making sure he brought that intensity that he has the ability to do, to bring it from Pitch 1 and he did today.”

Renteria liked it all, and he saw something different in his pitcher when he went out to talk to him with two outs in the eighth. Lopez issued a two-out walk, and Renteria considered lifting Lopez from the game.

Lopez made sure his manager wouldn’t pull the plug on this outing.

“I hid the baseball in my glove because I didn’t want to leave the game,” Lopez said. “I asked me, ‘How are you? Are you good?’ And I told him, ‘Yes, I’m good.’ Then he asked me again, ‘Do you think you are able to get him out?’ And I said yes, ‘This is my game, and I’m going to finish it.’”

What did Lopez do with his extra life? He finished it all right, blowing Shin-Soo Choo away with a 96-mile-an-hour fastball. Then he showed as much emotion as he’s ever shown on a major league field. He earned that celebration.

“When you see your manager come out and you’ve already gone through most of your game in terms of what you might think you have in number of pitches available to you, and you reiterate that you want to finish a particular batter because you want to get out of that inning, and you do it, it's an accomplishment,” Renteria said. “It's a big accomplishment. For him, pretty good hitter. He battled him and he was able to get out of that inning and complete a very, very strong eight-inning outing.”

It’s the kind of exclamation point on a dominant afternoon that could stir some big plans in White Sox fans always dreaming of the future. What Lopez has done this season has been a strong case for a spot in that future rotation and a spot at the front of it, at that. Following Sunday’s gem, Lopez owns a 2.98 ERA with at least six strikeouts in four of his nine starts.

There’s a lot of development and a lot of time left before the White Sox contention window opens. But Lopez pitching like this offers a glimpse into the crystal ball, a look at what could be for an organization that’s acquired so much talent over the last two years.

You might not have seen it coming like this, but the future arriving in the form of Lopez is a sign that brighter days are ahead on the South Side.

Carlos Rodon's first rehab start went well, White Sox set date for next one

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USA TODAY

Carlos Rodon's first rehab start went well, White Sox set date for next one

Carlos Rodon's return to the South Side is coming soon.

The top-five draft pick recovering from last fall's shoulder surgery made his first rehab start Saturday with Class A Kannapolis and threw well. Rodon allowed just one run on three hits in his five innings of work, striking out six and walking none.

The White Sox announced Sunday that Rodon's second rehab start will come Thursday with Triple-A Charlotte.

As for the exact date Rodon returns to the big league roster, it's unknown at this point. General manager Rick Hahn said that Rodon will make multiple rehab starts. One might look to the pitcher's recovery from a spring injury last year as a guide. Rodon made four rehab starts in June before debuting with the White Sox on June 28.

This recovery is different, of course. Rodon is eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list on May 28.