If you told a Chicago White Sox fan that Dylan Covey (3-1, 2.29 ERA) would be not only pitching for the big league club in June but shutting out the Boston Red Sox ad Cleveland Indians in consecutive starts, they would reasonably respond by slapping you in the face and demanding that you get a grip.
Miraculously, that is exactly what has happened. Except not so miraculously because Covey’s results are not even close to the only thing that has changed, as has become increasingly evident after he led Chicago to a 3-2 win over the Tribe on Wednesday evening. Watching him pitch, he is unrecognizable compared to the 2017 version.
Last year’s version of Covey used about a quarter of his pitches on a lifeless fastball that stayed up in the zone and sat there for hitters to feast on, leading to his 7.71 ERA. This year’s edition relies on his electric sinker, with action vertically and from side to side that gets looking strikeouts on a regular basis, as Yonder Alonso, among others, learned when he watched his at bat slip from his fingers, and judging by his reaction, he knew it.
Covey struck out five and walked none on Wednesday but did pitch to contact a great deal, allowing ten hits to Cleveland. He worked out of men in scoring position jams in the first, fourth, and sixth. He finally caved in the eighth, though both runs were inherited and let in by reliever Jace Fry.
Fry, the young and thus far dominant lefty setup man, let in the two runs and put himself in quite a jam with runners on second and third with one out, holding a one run lead. Former White Sox left fielder Melky Cabrera was no trouble, then Chicago area (yay, North Shore!) native Jason Kipnis worked a full count before succumbing to a wicked breaking ball to retire the side for Fry’s second straight whiff.
On the hitting side, Chicago managed just four hits but took an opportunistic approach to their offensive work, with the highlight being a run-scoring triple from New Trier High School graduate Charlie Tilson, who has impressed in his short time in the majors with the bat and glove.
Up next, the White Sox look to claim victory over the Tribe in the finale of the four-game set that the South Siders lead 2-1. Carlos Rodon makes his second start of the season and will face Mike Clevinger at 1:10 p.m.
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