The White Sox are coming off a weekend in which they actually won a series, but it wasn’t just the fact that they were victorious. Rather, it was who they were playing, as the Milwaukee Brewers came into town for a three-game set. What’s so special about that? It’s because the Brewers had the best record in the National League, and the White Sox won two of three games.
In the first game, the White Sox bullpen saved Hector Santiago, who was pulled in the 4th inning, and didn’t allow another run for the rest of the game. The second game was a loss in which James Shields gave up three solo home runs, but still threw seven solid innings. However, it was the final game that is going to be discussed.
Dylan Covey, called up to replace Carson Fulmer, has been subtly showing he deserves to stay in the rotation, even with Carlos Rodon coming back from an injury. Through four starts, Covey has an ERA below 3.00, and more importantly, hasn’t given up a home run in over 22 innings. That’s huge, as last year Covey gave up a staggering 20 home runs in 70 innings.
It was widely speculated that once Rodon was ready to come back, the White Sox would send Covey back down to Charlotte, their AAA organization. However, in three starts spanning 16.1 innings, Covey has maintained an ERA of 1.67. He’s shown that he deserves to keep getting the baseball every five days.
Manager Rick Renteria has been quiet about who is going to be sent down once Rodon has been cleared to play. “I certainly think that once whatever happens with the [Rodon] situation, we’ll all talk and see how we want to move forward,” he said during a post game interview.
Right now, there appears to be three candidates that Rodon could potentially replace once he returns, at least in the starting rotation. Lucas Giolito, Hector Santiago, who didn’t have the best showing on Friday night as he failed to get out of the fourth inning, and Covey all stand as pitchers who could be replaced in the near future.
Giolito’s struggles have been noticed, but it’s possible the White Sox don’t want to send him down because of what it would do to his mental toughness. His last start showed promise, as he didn’t walk a single batter, but still got hit around by the Cleveland Indians. Despite the loss, Giolito did show improvement. His next start Tuesday night is going to be one of the more important starts of his young career.
Santiago has fulfilled a phenomenal role as a long relief and spot starter, but his spot starts have been anywhere from serviceable to disastrous. His bullpen work has been undeniable however, and if he can return to that role it would set the White Sox up greatly in the near future.
Meanwhile, Covey’s work has shown that he belongs in this year’s Chicago White Sox rotation. It could provide an interesting challenge for the future once this team is ready to compete again. As of right now, the White Sox have Michael Kopech, Reynaldo Lopez, Giolito, Rodon, Covey, Dylan Cease, Fulmer and Alec Hansen, just to name a few, as projected starters. That could create one incredible starting five rotation, should all the pitchers pan out as expected.
For right now though, it would be best to leave Covey in the starting rotation and remove Santiago or Giolito once Rodon is deemed ready to come back. The other option available is to have a six-man rotation, but it’s incredibly unlikely that will happen. Still, for everything that Covey has accomplished in his short tenure here, he deserves to keep pitching.