Reynaldo Lopez dazzled in his debut with the Chicago White Sox on Friday, August 11th. The MLB battle-ready rookie fired six innings of two-run ball, enabling the White Sox to beat the Kansas City Royals by a score of 6-3. His fastball consistently clocked in at 97-99 MPH, while his wipeout Uncle Charlie and mind-boggling change-up catapulted him to striking out five of the first six batters he faced.
The only two runs Lopez allowed came on a pair of solo home runs by Mike Moustakas, who smashed a hanging curve into the seats in the fourth breaking up the no-hitter. He added another dinger on a subpar changeup in the sixth.
Reynaldo Lopez Dazzled in Getting out of Jams
Even more inspiring for White Sox fans was his ability to persevere through trouble. After the first Moustakas homer, he gave up two consecutive singles, generating a sojourn to the mound from heralded pitching coach Don Cooper. As usual, Cooper worked his magic and Lopez subsequently thwarted the Royals impending rally.
While this was his first start for the team from the Southside of Chicago, it was not major league debut. Lopez pitched 44 innings in 11 games, six of them starts during the heat of the pennant race, for the Washington Nationals last year. He went 5-3 with an ERA of 4.91 striking out 42 while walking 22. He had a replacement level WAR of -0.1.
Considered a Reliever by Many
Many experts project Lopez to be a late-inning reliever rather than a front-line starter, and the reasons for that opinion were evident in the latter stages of the game. His fastball dropped from the jaw-dropping velocity on display when the Royals bats were flailing to the more hittable 94-96 range. If Lopez is going to be a starter, he’ll need to sustain that top-end speed over the course of a game rather than the six innings he lasted on Friday.
Limited Activity at MLB Level in 2017
Given his youth and value as a long-term prospect, Lopez’ activity will be closely monitored. He threw 102 pitches on Friday evening and will be on a pitch count for the rest of 2017. As a strikeout pitcher, he’ll naturally rack up the pitches faster than the average hurler. As dynamic as he was last week, it’s likely White Sox fans will be checking their app so they can make sure they’re in front of the TV sets for his next outing.
When Does he Next Pitch?
At the moment. Lopez’ next start hasn’t been announced, but it looks like it could be Thursday, August 17 in Texas. The White Sox haven’t named a starter for that game. Lopez followed Carlos Rodon in the rotation the last time out. Rodon is scheduled to go on Wednesday. Set your DVRs, White Sox fans.