After long layoff, Chicago White Sox fall to A's 8-1

Updated 4/17/2018 12:15 AM
  • Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Reynaldo Lopez (40) works against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, April 16, 2018, in Oakland, Calif.

    Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Reynaldo Lopez (40) works against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, April 16, 2018, in Oakland, Calif.

The Chicago White Sox were back Monday night, playing baseball of all things.

Last Thursday, the Sox started their road trip as scheduled with a 4-0 loss at Minnesota.

Heavy snow postponed games against the Twins Friday-Sunday, so it was a lengthy layoff before the White Sox took the field against the Athletics on Monday night at Oakland.

With Reynaldo Lopez making his first start since April 8, the Sox lost to the A's 8-1. Their run came when Jose Abreu led off the ninth inning with a homer.

Unlike the Sox's offense (6 hits) and defense (4 errors), Lopez performed well, allowing 2 runs in 6 innings and striking out 10. The 24-year-old righty has allowed only 3 earned runs over 19 innings (1.42 ERA) in his first 3 starts.

Like most cold-weather teams in the major leagues, the White Sox have been slammed by the elements in the early going.

They'll have to make up three games against the Twins later in the year, and the Sox also are scheduled to play a doubleheader at Kansas City on April 28 to make up an April 1 snowout.

It has been a miserable stretch of early weather, but Bruce Rondon has an understandably sunny disposition.

"I'm very thankful to the White Sox for the opportunity they have given me just to show again what I'm able to do at this level," Rondon said.

Once considered the Tigers' closer of the future, the 6-foot-3, 275-pounder was slowed by a string of injuries, including Tommy John surgery that sidelined him for the entire 2014 season.

Rondon's lack of maturity also contributed to his failure in Detroit. Late in the 2015 season, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus sent the big right-hander home early due to "effort-level issues."

Last season Rondon seemed disinterested in an eventual blowout loss to the Royals and decided to drill Mike Moustakas with a pitch, sparking a bench-clearing brawl.

Rodon's fastball still hits 100 mph, and he still throws a deceptive changeup to keep hitters off the heat.

That's why the Sox took a chance on him after the Tigers cut him loose in December.

In his first 2 relief appearances, Rondon was perfect over 2⅓ innings while striking out five of seven batters.

It is very early, but the change of scenery looks to be a good thing for Rodon, who is focused on looking ahead.

"I want to thank the Tigers because they gave me the first opportunity to pitch in the majors," Rondon said, "What happened in the past is in the past. I don't like to think about the past. My focus is on right now and in the future."

If he builds on his promising start, the 27-year-old Rondon could have a future with the White Sox.

"I think the hope is that we can harness that power, have him command the strike zone more consistently and maybe we get something that's long lasting and effective," Sox manager Rick Renteria said.

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