Colby Lewis looked the part of an Opening Day starter Friday, striking out nine in six innings of two-run ball against the White Sox. The key for Lewis was his command of the outer third of the plate and outside corner against righties, who were generally baffled by his fastballslider combination.
Of Lewis' 100 pitches, 78 registered as either a fastball or slider. And he absolutely pounded the outer third with those offerings:
Graph via Brooks Baseball.
Lewis hardly has overpowering stuff, and his slider was, on average, only six miles per hour slower than his fastball. But Lewis lived on the outside corner, as the graph shows, and when he missed, he missed away against right-handers. He only went inside a few times, and when he did, he was pretty effective with it.
It's easier said than done to attack a pitcher like this, since Lewis made it incredibly difficult to differentiate between his fastball and slider out of his hand. And he rarely missed over the plate -- but when he did, the Sox were so off-balance by his pounding of the outer third that they didn't always take advantage of it.
One key sequence
Dayan Viciedo led off the third with a double, representing one of those precious few times a Sox righty took advantage of a bad offering from Lewis. But Lewis turned the tables on Gordon Beckham, busting the second baseman inside when it was clear he was looking to push the ball to the right side to advance Viciedo. As a result, Beckham took three straight strikes and went down looking.
Alejandro De Aza followed that up with his worst at-bat of the game, ending in a strikeout on a low-and-inside breaking ball. And then Lewis went to work on Brent Morel, who looked completely lost against the Rangers starter -- four straight sliders and back-to-back fastballs finished off Morel and the first White Sox scoring threat of the season.
GLENDALE, Ariz. — The White Sox held Brett Lawrie out Saturday after he reported discomfort in the same left leg that sidelined him for the final 2 1/2 months of 2016.
The second baseman has been a full participant the entire spring until he informed manager Rick Renteria what he was experiencing Saturday.
"We're going to reevaluate him tomorrow and see where he's at," Renteria said. "He didn't feel quite right, and so he was in there earlier today getting treatment. We'll reevaluate tomorrow and make a determination where we're at in terms of trying to set some parameters for how we move forward."
A confusing, tricky series of injuries that Lawrie blamed on wearing orthotics limited him to 94 games last season. He hit the disabled list on July 22 and didn't discover the cause until after the season ended. But Lawrie reported to camp feeling healthy once again and has participated at 100 percent until this point, Renteria said.
"It's been good," Renteria said. "Everything has been clean. There have been no notifications anything had been amiss. He just woke up this morning and felt it. So we're going to be very cautious, take it a day at a time, reevaluate it and see where we're at."
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Manager Rick Renteria promised before Saturday's game the prospects would play and they certainly did.
White Sox prospects Zack Collins and Yoan Moncada both entered in the fifth inning of Saturday's 5-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers at Camelback Ranch. Collins singled in two at-bats while Moncada, the centerpiece in the Chris Sale trade, went 0-for-2.
"It was fun," Collins said. "To be able to go out there on the first day was an honor to me. A little jittery, but very excited to play.
"I'm the new guy, it's my first year and the first game played and I get to play. It's definitely an honor."
It's a distinction that will be shared by many, Renteria said. With the White Sox focused on player development and a longer spring schedule, the prospects should get a long look. Given the club's top eight prospects — according to MLB.com — are in big league camp, many will see significant playing time early in camp.
"We've got a long spring and a lot of opportunities," Renteria said. "You're going to see a lot of our kids."
Reliever Zack Burdi, the 26th overall pick of last June's draft, is scheduled to appear in Sunday's game when the White Sox host the Rockies. The White Sox also tentatively have listed Michael Kopech and Reynaldo Lopez as the starting pitchers for their split-squad doubleheader on Tuesday.
Collins took advantage of his first chance with a ninth-inning single off Dodgers pitcher Edward Paredes. Next up for the 2016 first-rounder is a report Monday for his teammates as part of Renteria's morning meetings.
"I have my little presentation going," Collins said. "I'll probably be more nervous than I will playing."