Save for two solid singles up the middle, this game story could have had a very, very different feel to it.
Alas, history avoided Dylan Coveyon Saturday night, but an outstanding performance on the mound definitely did not as the young right hander tossed a shutout over eight and a third innings of work in a 5-0 victory over Seattle Mariners.
While Covey did fail to punch out a great deal of hitters – he had a mere on the night – he did very much succeed in keeping the ball in the infield. Only six balls, two of which fell for hits, exited the confines of the dirt path at Safeco Field in Seattle.
This is the mark of a good night for a sinker baller like Covey, who relies on sharp and late movement down and to the right on his fastball, in order to induce balls that would ordinarily be lofted for scoring chances to be buried into the ground for easy putouts. This strategy does rely on solid defense from the left side of the infield, and Covey received it in spades in the form of Yolmer Sanchez (who did have an error but was excellent the rest of the night) and Tim Anderson.
Covey exited in the ninth inning after 105 pitches and gave way toJoakim Soria with a five run lead and a runner on first base. Soria threw a cookie to M’s outfielder and arguably best hitter Mitch Haniger, who crushed it to deep left field where it should have exited the ballpark.
Astoundingly, it did not. Leury Garcia, who came into the league as an infielder (primarily at shortstop), tracked it down, leaped over the wall, and brought it back to save a home run and conserve the shutout. He was met with astonished glances from Mariners fans in disbelief, as well as gaping smiles and cheers from the throng of White Sox fans in attendance.
Covey was given ample run support in the victory, his first in what seemed like ages as he had been pitching abhorrently as of late, against a former superstar and likely Hall of Fame talent, Felix Hernandez. He breezed through his first time through the White Sox’ order, striking out six of seven batters in one stretch, but ran into some trouble in his second attempt to silence Chicago’s bats, namely in the form of Avisail Garcia.
Garcia, in his first game off of the disabled list, issued an “excuse me” one handed swing at a pitch on the outside part of the plate and crushed it to dead centerfield, knowing it was gone the second it left the bat. That swing gave the White Sox the lead and they never looked back.
Tomorrow, the White Sox will look to take the rubber match of this three game set in Seattle, putting Reynaldo Lopez on the hill to face Mariners southpawMarco Gonzalez. That game will be a much-needed 3:10 start as the White Sox try to start the unofficial second half of their season with a series win.
Follow Jack Soble on Twitter–Feature Photo Credit: Chicago Tribune