Andre Rienzo seems like he might be a cheery, upbeat dude with unbridled enthusiasm for Mark Wahlberg. So it was only appropriate and White Sox-ian, that his first career start saw him humbled by the terrors of slight run support, defensive miscues behind him and, to top it off, physical pain.
For his follow-up, Rienzo will be asked to snap a nine-game losing streak in Detroit, snap a seven-game Tigers winning streak and prop up an offense that has scored two runs in the last three games. He’s probably going to need to be able to throw that big overhand curveball for a strike to avoid pain and suffering. Maybe it’s coming no matter what. Rienzo is fighting against evaluations that mostly pegged him as a future reliever, incapable of consistently finding three suitable offerings, but he wouldn’t be the first White Sox pitching prospect to change his stars.
White Sox Lineup:
Andre Rienzo, SP
In 16 games since the All-Star break, Dayan Viciedo is hitting .283/.339/.472. That’s pretty mild for a hot streak, and this figure has already slipped back from more exciting totals earlier in the week. However, only eight strikeouts in 59 plate appearances is a positive stretch for a player recently thought of as the future of the offense.
Detroit Tigers Lineup:
Rienzo is getting a bit of a favor in the form of Miguel Cabrera being out with his continued hip problems. While it’s a shame that the Sox won’t get a chance to see an elite hitter at work–it’s a rare treat–Don Kelly hitting out of the No. 3 slot is a bit more reasonable challenge to overcome. Baseball players must be remarkably fickle creatures, given the way Jim Leyland slid a fourth outfielder ahead the rest of his high-powered lineup. Or maybe old Jimmy has always been fond/pitying of his would-be rivals.
Where to Watch: CSN Chicago & Fox Sports – Detroit
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan