Reynaldo Lopez’s outing Sunday in Detroit didn’t get off to a good start and his performance led to a couple lengthy lectures from his manager.
After giving up a two-run home run in the first inning, Lopez allowed a leadoff single to Dawel Lugo in the second. White Sox manager Rick Renteria paid Lopez an early mound visit.
This wasn’t pitching coach Don Cooper going to the mound to talk to Lopez about mechanics or strategy on the next batter. Renteria walked up, looked Lopez straight in the eye and talked at him for 15 seconds without Lopez getting in a word. At one point in the interaction, Renteria appears to say "It's time to wake up."
MLB.com’s Scott Merkin asked Renteria about the mound visit after the game. If it wasn’t clearly apparent by watching the interaction, Renteria wasn’t pleased with Lopez.
Renteria on his Lopez mound visit: "Concerned, and just making sure he was ok. That’s a young man who has some pretty good stuff and I wanted to make sure he was aware that he was actually pitching today."— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) September 22, 2019
Renteria: "I wasn’t raising my voice or anything. It was serious, but more than anything just making sure, ‘Hey listen, you’ve got good stuff. You have the ability of performing. It doesn’t look like at this particular time you are very focused in doing your job.' ...— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) September 22, 2019
Lopez threw over to first a couple times before getting behind 2-0 to the next batter, Grayson Greiner. Greiner grounded into a double play, but former White Sox infielder Gordon Beckham homered off Lopez right after that.
Lopez gave up another run in the third and Renteria again felt the need to lecture Lopez. This time it took place in the dugout.
With Lopez sitting in the dugout, a somewhat animated Renteria pointed to the 25-year-old’s chest multiple times. Lopez simply took it in and nodded. Watch this interaction and the mound visit in the video above.
Lopez came out for the fourth inning and gave up his fifth run. He was pulled before the start of the fifth. He gave up five runs on nine hits (three home runs) in four innings in a 6-3 White Sox loss.
Lopez has a 5.57 ERA on the season, which is a big drop off from his promising 3.91 ERA in 2018. Lopez was far from a finished product last year, but showed the potential to be a long-term piece in the White Sox rotation. Now? Not so much.
If Renteria’s words about making sure Lopez “was aware that he was actually pitching today” weren’t stern enough, he continued with a more general comment about the future of the White Sox.
Renteria: "The direction we are going as an organization, it’s on them to start showing us they should be here as we continue to move forward because we are not going to be in perpetuity just developing, no. It’s time for us to start taking the next phase and step to winning.”— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) September 22, 2019
If that wasn’t specifically directed to Lopez, it certainly applies to him. Lucas Giolito has established himself as a lock for the 2020 rotation. Dylan Cease will be given a chance to continue to improve. Michael Kopech is coming back from injury. The White Sox likely add a starting arm either via trade or free agency this offseason.
Lopez may not be a part of the future rotation and time to show he deserves a spot is running out.