Lopez happy with strong start vs. red-hot Tribe

Lopez happy with strong start vs. red-hot Tribe

CHICAGO -- Reynaldo Lopez will have better final numbers in future starts for the White Sox then he did during the South Siders' 5-1 loss to the Indians at Guaranteed Rate Field on Wednesday night.

But when taking into consideration the red-hot opponent, with the Indians matching a franchise-record 14 straight wins, and the uneven White Sox defense behind him on the night, Lopez's effort should be considered a high-quality start.

"Let me tell you something: He did a great job today. Even though the numbers were still good, he did better than that," said White Sox manager Rick Renteria of Lopez, who allowed one run on six hits and two walks over six innings to go with two strikeouts. "We should have caught the ball on more plays. It would have allowed us possibly for him to get a little deeper [in the game], but he had to make more pitches because of those miscues."

"I think I did a good job tonight, too," Lopez said through interpreter Billy Russo. "I felt good tonight. I felt strong. I tried to keep my focus on the game, because I know that they are a very good team. And I just tried to execute what I've been working on during my [bullpen sessions] and my routine."

That one run given up by Lopez in the fourth was earned, but it probably should have an asterisk next to it.

Carlos Santana opened the frame with a bloop single to left on a ball that appeared catchable for Nicky Delmonico, who is learning a new position in the Majors. Yandy Diaz followed with a hard-hit grounder past second baseman Alen Hanson, who was setting up to catch the ball and then make an attempt to turn a double play at second base but ended up doing neither.

A walk to Abraham Almonte loaded the bases with nobody out, and Tyler Naquin's sacrifice fly brought home the frame's lone run. Lopez escaped unscathed from one-out jams with runners on second and third in the first and second innings.

Lopez featured more fastballs early in the game, throwing the 59 fastballs of his 102 pitches and with a maximum velocity of 97.1 mph, according to Statcast™. He then moved to more offspeed pitches later in the game, registering nine swings and misses overall, with four coming on his curveball and three on the changeup.

"That was by design," Lopez said. "We had a plan before the game. Part of the plan was to try to attack the hitters with the fastball in the first part of the game and then mix a little bit with the breaking balls and offspeed pitches. That was what I was trying to do. I felt very, very good with my fastball today.

"By the end, my breaking pitches were good, too. I was able to command all my pitches tonight, and I feel good with all of them."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.