Catcher Welington Castillo sees growth from the young White Sox pitchers.
“It’s a lot of positive stuff from them,” Castillo said. “We’ve just got to continue to play and build that relationship and that confidence that everybody has right now.”
One pitcher the Sox really need to see that from is Reynaldo Lopez. And in the Sox’ 5-1 win over Kansas City on Tuesday, they did for the first time this season. They also saw Yoan Moncada’s first two-homer game, and home runs from Yonder Alonso and Leury Garcia.
In his best start of 2019, Lopez went six innings, allowing one run and five hits while striking out five and walking two. Lopez gave up a Lucas Duda homer in the second, but looked like he did in 2018.
Entering Tuesday, Lopez was 0-2 with a 12.15 ERA. One year after emerging as one of the Sox’ best arms, Lopez has gotten off to a difficult start. He had allowed six homers and walked at least four in each of his first three appearances.
But Castillo didn’t doubt Lopez.
“I know the type of pitcher he is, a guy that goes right at the hitter. He just hasn’t been this year — maybe the weather or whatever it is — the guy that he was last year. But there’s not any doubt about what he’s capable of doing,” Castillo said. “Always when he takes the ball, I think we’re going to go seven, eight innings. So that’s the confidence I have in him, and that’s a guy who goes right at the hitters. He’s not afraid to pitch.
“I don’t worry about him because I know him. We are really tight, and I know what he can do.”
Maybe that’s true, but the Sox are looking for more from Lopez and other young starters like Lucas Giolito, who pitches Wednesday. Unlike Lopez, Giolito did not have an encouraging 2018, as he walked the most batters in the American League (90) and had a 6.13 ERA. Though it’s early, Giolito’s 2019 (6.19 ERA, nine walks in 16 innings) hasn’t looked much better.
Sox manager Rick Renteria, however, likes the young pitchers’ “determination to try to grind through even during those moments not going very very well.”
“At a high rate, they have kept their composure even if they don’t have their command,” Renteria said. “Hopefully we can get on a little bit of a role and we can get guys to give us hopefully six innings and get us to the bullpen. It’s not for their lack of desire.”
Unfortunately for the Sox, they haven’t gotten too much of that that from two pitchers who are supposed to be parts of their future. Castillo is trying to do his part to keep them confident and on track, even if seeing their struggles is “not fun because it’s part of my job to try to make them better, try to help them when they’re not doing good.”
“But I just try to stay in his mind, get in his mind and try to get his confidence back,” Castillo said. “It doesn’t matter, anybody can miss a pitch, anybody can strike out, anybody can miss a play. You can’t get your head down. Get your head up and keep doing your thing.”
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