What will Brock Burke do for an encore?
Burke certainly shined in his debut Tuesday, scattering four hits and two walks while striking out four in six scoreless innings against the Los Angeles Angels in a game the Rangers went on to win 3-2 in 11 innings.
"I couldn't have asked for more," Burke said.
Burke joined the Rangers from Triple-A Nashville to pitch the second game of a doubleheader. He initially was set to return to the minors after the game, but his outing against the Angels was so strong, the organization elected to let Burke fill the rotation spot previously held by Joe Palumbo.
The Angels struggled to get good contact against Burke. According to MLB.com, just four of 17 balls in play had an exit velocity of 95 mph or greater.
Rangers manager Chris Woodward was bullish about the first impression Burke left.
"He was obviously really, really good," Woodward told reporters after the game. "I think the poise, that's what I saw in spring training. It was a lot of the same thing (Tuesday). It just seemed like nothing really shook him."
Woodward added to his praise one day later in a radio interview with KRLD-FM 105.3.
"Brock Burke looked like he had been pitching in the big leagues for about 15 years," Woodward said. "Didn't even break a sweat in the 105-degree heat. Had command of all his pitches. You look at his stuff ... it's pretty elite. So that was obviously a really welcome sight."
The White Sox are looking to take three games in the four-game weekend series and eyeing their fifth win in seven games overall.
After taking two of three in a road series against the American League Central-leading Minnesota Twins to start the week, the White Sox won the first two games against the Rangers before Saturday's 4-0 loss.
Third baseman Yoan Moncada returned to the lineup from injury for Thursday's series opener and has hit a pair of two-run home runs in the series to boost Chicago. Shortstop Tim Anderson carries an 11-game hitting streak into the matinee.
"I think that these guys have been pushing and trying to pick each other up," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "It helps us tremendously to have Yoan back in the lineup, a big part of our club. But you're seeing contributions again. ... Some great at-bats ... up and down throughout the lineup.
"When you do that, when you pitch, you catch the ball -- I mean all the clichés -- you get some timely hitting, you give yourself a chance to win a ballgame."
Right-hander Reynaldo Lopez (7-11, 5.25 ERA) is set to start for Chicago in his second outing of the season against the Rangers. Lopez took a no-decision on June 21 at Globe Life Park after allowing three runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Lopez is 2-1 with a 4.13 ERA in four career starts against the Rangers, with 24 strikeouts and three home runs allowed in 24 innings.
--Field Level Media