There has been no shortage of disappointing efforts from Chicago White Sox players this season, but manager Rick Renteria rarely if ever comes down on individual performances.
That changed a bit last week following a 7-0 interleague loss to the Pirates in Pittsburgh.
Reynaldo Lopez lasted just 2 innings for the Sox, and the 24-year-old starter was roughed up for 6 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks.
“I don’t think he came in very focused,” Renteria said. “When you come into your start, you come in ready to do what you need to do. That focus is vitally important.”
Lopez chalked it up as nothing more than a bad start, but he seemed to be a little extra motivated — and focused — Sunday against the Texas Rangers.
“I just changed my attitude,” Lopez said through a translator. “I was more positive today than I was in my last outing and that was one of my biggest differences.”
It was all positive for Lopez and the White Sox in a 3-0 win over the Rangers at chilly Guaranteed Rate Field, where it was 45 degrees at first pitch.
Lopez went a career high 8 innings and also set a personal record with 107 pitches. The right-hander allowed just 2 hits and had 2 walks and 8 strikeouts.
“It’s about the confidence I have in myself,” Lopez said. “I have plenty of confidence in myself. For me, I’m the best. I’m not saying the other guys are not, I’m just saying that’s the confidence I have.
“When I’m on the mound, I’m the best and I don’t care about the rest.”
With two outs in the eighth inning, Lopez walked Delino DeShields. Renteria came out of the dugout and headed for the mound, and it looked like a pitching change was in the works.
“One of the things I used to do was leave the ball in my hand when the manager comes out,” Lopez said. “This time I hid the ball in my glove because I didn’t want him to take the ball. That’s one of the ways you can express confidence in yourself.”
Renteria had an open mind on his way to the mound.
“I didn’t tell him it was his last batter,” the manager said. “I wanted to know how he felt and if he wanted this guy. He said, ‘This is my guy’ and I said, ‘OK. Go get him.’ As simple as that.”
Throwing hard all afternoon, Lopez struck out Shin-Soo Choo on a 96-mph fastball to end the eighth inning and then showed some rare emotion walking back to he dugout, pumping his arms, screaming and waving his cap.
“I was executing my pitches and I had confidence in all my pitches,” he said. “I didn’t have any doubt when I was on the mound. I was feeling great.”
Welington Castillo gave the Sox the early lead with a solo home run in the second inning. Leury Garcia added a 2-run single in the third.