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|HOUSTON — Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch occasionally bristles at conventional methodology Authentic Teuvo Teravainen Jersey , particularly given the availability of superior data and how its dissemination shapes decisions.
For instance, last Friday in Kansas City, the Astros (50-26) recalled first baseman Tyler White to take the roster spot of left-handed reliever Reymin Guduan, who made one appearance two days earlier before being placed on the paternity list for the birth of his child.
That move left the Astros one arm short in the bullpen and, when Guduan exhausted his time on the paternity list, the organization returned him to Triple-A Fresno instead of recalling him to Houston.
The Astros have completed two series with an extra position player on their bench, a move that some might consider unorthodox but one Hinch is reticent to harp on, despite being asked about his roster configuration more than once in the past week.
“In the heat in Kansas City, it was nice to have an extra guy when we won by a lot,” Hinch said of a 10-2 victory on June 16. “Maneuvering some pinch-hit opportunities has been key. Obviously, it allowed us to start an all right-handed lineup (Tuesday against Rays left-hander Blake Snell) and give (second baseman Jose) Altuve most of the day off.
“Our starters have gone pretty deep … the last two outings, which has allowed the bullpen to get rested. It feels a little different to have seven relievers, but in actuality, that’s too many. I’d have five position players on the bench if I could.”
The Astros, who will open a three-game series with the Royals on Friday at Minute Maid Park, will stand pat with seven relievers for the immediate future.
Right-hander Joe Smith, currently on the 10-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation, has begun a throwing program and is poised for a return to the active roster that could reset the bullpen balance.
Left-hander Dallas Keuchel (4-8 Womens Victor Rask Jersey , 4.15 ERA) will start the opener for Houston. He is 4-1 with a 2.89 ERA in seven career starts against the Royals and picked up the win over Kansas City in his last start, allowing two unearned runs, six hits and one walk with five strikeouts in six innings in a 10-2 victory on June 16.
Keuchel had been 0-3 with a 7.33 ERA in his previous five starts.
The Royals will counter with left-hander Danny Duffy (3-7, 5.55 ERA) on Friday. Duffy surrendered seven runs (six earned), seven hits and three walks with five strikeouts in six innings of his previous start, a 10-2 loss to the Astros on June 16. He is 2-3 with a 5.29 ERA in eight career appearances (five starts) against Houston.
Kansas City (22-52) has dropped nine consecutive games and 15 of 16 overall, including all three games during a series against the Astros last weekend at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals are batting .188 this month, their worst record in any month under ninth-year manager Ned Yost.
The Royals last won a road series on May 21-23, taking the final two games of a three-game set at St. Louis.
Dylan Covey has come a long way since his major league debut last year. All the way to an increasingly interesting prospect for the rebuilding Chicago White Sox.
Covey carried a shutout into the eighth inning, continuing his impressive June and helping the White Sox beat Trevor Bauer and the Cleveland Indians 3-2 on Wednesday night.
”He kept grinding,” manager Rick Renteria said. ”He kept pitching, getting after it and did a really nice job.”
Covey (3-1) allowed 10 hits – all singles – and walked none. The 26-year-old right-hander improved to 3-0 with a 1.53 ERA in five starts since he was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte last month.
The White Sox got Covey from Oakland in the 2016 Rule 5 draft. He went 0-7 with a 7.71 ERA in 18 games, 12 starts, last season, but he has looked like a different pitcher since returning to the majors.
”I’m just super comfortable, with my mechanics, with my pitches,” he said. ”I’m throwing offspeed for strikes Alex DeBrincat Jersey , I’m throwing my curveball for strikes. It’s just all about comfort for me right now.”
Covey got a warm ovation from the crowd of 19,390 when he departed after the first two batters reached in the eighth. Edwin Encarnacion hit a one-out RBI single and Yonder Alonso doubled home another run before Jace Fry struck out Melky Cabrera and Jason Kipnis, preserving Chicago’s 3-2 lead.
Joakim Soria allowed two more hits in the ninth before finishing for his 10th save in 12 chances. Michael Brantley bounced into a game-ending double play with runners on first and second.
”We couldn’t string enough hits together,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.
Cleveland wasted another impressive start for Bauer in its second straight loss after a stretch of five wins in six games. Brantley had three hits, but the AL Central leaders went 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position and left nine runners on base.
Bauer (5-5) struck out 12 in 7 2/3 innings while becoming the third pitcher in franchise history to record at least 10 Ks in four consecutive starts, joining teammate Corey Kluber and Hall of Famer Bob Feller.
”Missing a lot of bats, limited contact, keeping the ball in the yard, not walking many people. It was a great outing,” Bauer said.
Bauer matched Covey zero for zero until the White Sox scratched across two in the fifth. Tim Anderson walked, stole second and went to third on a throwing error by catcher Roberto Perez before Charlie Tilson tripled into the corner in right . Tilson then scampered home on Trayce Thompson’s perfectly placed suicide squeeze.
Kevan Smith added an RBI single in the sixth as Chicago won for the third time in four games.
White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu helped Covey by turning a pair of slick double plays. He also doubled and scored on Smith’s single.
Indians: LHP Andrew Miller (left knee inflammation) threw another bullpen session and could start facing hitters during Cleveland’s upcoming nine-game homestand. … Francona said the plan is to activate OF Brandon Guyer (strained neck) on Thursday. … C Roberto Perez returned to the lineup for the first time since he was hit by a pitch on the right wrist against Detroit on Sunday. … OF Bradley Zimmer, who was sent down to Triple-A Columbus on June 5, hurt his right shoulder in a drill Monday. He is expected to rest for five days.
White Sox: RHP Nate Jones was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a muscle strain in his forearm. The veteran reliever had an MRI, and Renteria said the injury is ”very mild.” RHP Juan Minaya was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte to take Jones’ place on the roster. … OF Avisail Garcia (strained right hamstring) went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts in his second rehab game with Charlotte.
Indians right-hander Mike Clevinger and White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon start the series finale Thursday afternoon. Clevinger (4-2, 3.31 ERA) pitched 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball in a 7-3 victory over Chicago on May 29. Rodon (0-1, 3.60 ERA) is making his second start after missing the beginning of the season while he worked his way back from shoulder surgery last September.
Jay Cohen can be reached at