On paper, right hand Mike Clevinger against the Tigers looks like a good fight for the White Sox. That's exactly what happened.
Clevinger, who was fresh off the injured list after tearing his right wrist, was brilliant through five innings on Friday. He closed out the Tigers with three hits, walked one and hit six before leaving after 73 pitches.
Clevinger had to settle for a no-decision as the Sox were shut down—and hitless—through five innings by the Tigers' right-handers Reece Olsonwho made his major league debut.
But the Sox stringed together four hits against Olson and a reliever Will Vest in sixth to score two goals en route to a 3-0 victory before 20,229 at the Guaranteed Rate Field.
Clevinger entered the game 8-2 with a 1.74 career ERA against the Tigers and continued his success.
“I feel like we really took those two weeks to find some mechanical weaknesses that I had,” said Clevinger. “I think tonight shows the job we put in.”
Clevinger had no trouble turning the game over to the bullpen when he did. Kenan Middleton (1-0), reynaldo lopez, Joe Kelly And Kendall's Grave (fifth save) completed a six-batter.
”I feel strong, but I understand the reasons behind it,”said Clevinger. “We got through five (innings) healthy, and then build from this and create momentum for the next one.”
“Cleviger did a great job today,” the manager said Pedro Grifol said. “The speed is up, which is expected. He looks healthy, strong.”
Close to closing?
Liam Hendrix, still getting his sea legs back after battling cancer, will be even closer to the Sox at some point. Exactly when he will get the ball in a save situation must be determined.
“He is part of our bullpen now, and until things settle down – how long it will take I'm not sure,” said Grifol. “And I'm in no rush to make that decision.”
Hendriks said he thought he should get his job back. It was a sentiment that Grifol appreciated, even if he didn't completely agree with it.
”My answer to that is, ‘I think you've got a lot going on in this game,” said Grifol. “I don't think he's ever lost (the job).
“Now he's back and working on his own getting back to where he needs to be and where he belongs.”
The Sox were pretty desperate for the second baseman they brought back Elvis Andrus this spring and got him the starting job, although he hasn't played there in 14 seasons.
Now they almost have more options in the position than they know what to do with.
When Andrus (slanted left italics) is in IL, Romi Gonzales radiated power, hitting home runs in three straight games. And Jake burgerswhose bat made him too valuable not to play regularly, was also getting used to second.
Now Andrus has returned from his rehabilitation stint and is also back on board. So how does a depth chart look? Complicated.
“He's probably still our second baseman,” Grifol said of Andrus. ”They compete to get a job there. Elvis is a 15-year major league veteran. I'm sure his game will rise to a level where he will push himself or find himself in the lineup.”
To make room for Clevinger and Andrus, the Sox named an infielder hanser albert for assignment and right-hander options Jesse Scholtens to Triple-A Charlotte.