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White Sox’s Drew Thorpe continues initiation vs. Tigers

After getting roughed up in his latest start, Chicago White Sox rookie Drew Thorpe will look to bounce back against the host Detroit Tigers on Saturday afternoon.

Ranked the No. 3 prospect in the White Sox organization by MLB Pipeline, Thorpe lasted just 3 1/3 innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks in his second career start on Sunday. He allowed eight runs — seven earned — on six hits and five walks.

Thorpe (0-1, 8.64 ERA), who gave up one two runs (one earned) in five innings when he debuted at Seattle on June 11, didn’t record a strikeout in Phoenix.

“Who doesn’t have bad starts up here?” Chicago manager Pedro Grifol said. “Hall of Famers lose 300 games, win 300 games. You’ve got to be mentally strong. ‘This is part of it and I’m going to get to work now for the next four, five days and I’m going to get ready for my next start.’ You’ve got to make adjustments, adapt, continue to improve. That’s it.”

In 11 starts for Double-A Birmingham this year, Thorpe went 7-1 with a 1.35 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP. He is learning quickly that the margin for error against major league hitters is much smaller.

“My fastball sets everything else up, and it was all over the place (Sunday),” Thorpe said. “Clearly, I’m going to struggle. It’s a different animal up here. It’s good to get it out of the way and move on, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Thorpe doesn’t have overpowering stuff — his four-seam fastball averages 90.9 mph. He needs to hit his spots to make his changeup more effective.

“He’s got to be able to pitch and command the strike zone,” Grifol said. “That’s going to be his bread and butter. That’s going to be how he performs at this level. If that’s a little off, then he’s going to have to make some adjustments, and if it’s way off like (Sunday), he’ll struggle a little bit.”

His mound opponent on Saturday, veteran right-hander Kenta Maeda (2-3, 6.02 ERA), has struggled most of the season. In his most recent start, Maeda gave up four runs and five hits in five innings at Houston on Sunday.

Maeda fired a season-high 94 pitches against the Astros. He has averaged 90.1 mph with his fastball this season, though he reached 93 mph on Sunday.

“I haven’t been pitching great this season, but at the same time, I’m trying my hardest to come back,” he said. “As you saw, the velo is ticking up and I tried some new (adjustments) with my off-speed pitches. Hopefully, it builds up.”

Maeda is 3-2 with a 5.93 ERA in eight career starts against the White Sox. He got a no-decision at Chicago on March 30 after giving up six runs on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings. He walked one and fanned two.

The Tigers won 2-1 in the opener of the three-game series Friday night behind Carson Kelly’s two-run homer. Jack Flaherty threw five innings of one-run ball and struck out eight as Detroit ended a four-game losing streak.

“That was a big one,” Tigers first baseman Mark Canha said. “Just to get us on the right track and get us feeling good going into (Saturday) with the short turnaround. It was nice to get it, for sure, and Jack led the way.”

–Field Level Media

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