‘That feeling hasn’t gone away yet’: Chicago White Sox rookies Nick Nastrini and Jonathan Cannon eye 2nd starts

PHILADELPHIA — Jonathan Cannon had a question for catcher Korey Lee on Friday afternoon while in the bullpen at Citizens Bank Park.

“Does this ever get old?” Cannon asked.

Lee assured the Chicago White Sox rookie pitcher that it doesn’t.

Cannon and fellow rookie pitcher Nick Nastrini have had a week to remember while making their major-league debuts.

“It’s been a whirlwind, it’s been crazy,” Cannon told the Tribune on Friday. “It’s been super exciting.”

Manager Pedro Grifol loved the composure both pitchers displayed.

“This is the big stage, they handled it well,” Grifol said Friday. “They weren’t timid. They attacked. It was pretty nice to see.”

While the Sox look for answers for an offense that entered Saturday having been shut out seven times, the most in major-league history through 19 games, they hope that Nastrini and Cannon can be part of the formula bolstering the rotation.

Nastrini will start Sunday’s series finale against the Philadelphia Phillies. Cannon is slated to start Monday against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.

“We’re going to stay on point for one or two times around, see what we got,” Grifol said. “We’ll keep it up for now and see what happens.

“We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves. We’ll just run it again and see where we’re at. If it continues to show itself the right way, we’ll run it again.”

Grifol said every time Cannon and Nastrini pitch early on it’s “uncharted waters.”

“So let’s not get too far ahead of this thing, and enjoy the day and who’s going to start today and see what happens today and get after it tomorrow again,” Grifol said. “And keep evaluating. That’s the most important part of this thing. Keep teaching, developing, evaluating and find ways to win baseball games.”

Nastrini and Cannon kept the Sox in the game in their starts.

Nastrini allowed two runs on three hits with five strikeouts and two walks in five innings in Monday’s 2-0 home loss to the Kansas City Royals.

“It’s good to have fulfilled a childhood dream, and now it’s just, stay here and keep doing what I can to help this ballclub win,” Nastrini said Wednesday morning at Guaranteed Rate Field.

He retired the first 11 batters he faced, the longest game-opening streak by a Sox starter in his major-league debut in the expansion era (since 1961).

He had a “welcome to the big leagues” moment on his final pitch of the outing when Bobby Witt Jr. drove a ball to deep center with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth inning. On some days, it might have been a grand slam, but Dominic Fletcher made the catch on the warning track.

“If I’m pitching in Charlotte, that ball’s like 50 feet deep (in the stands),” Nastrini said with a laugh. “I was like, ‘Oh, dang, he kind of got that one.’ I turned around and saw Dom drifting back and I saw his body language like he was going to catch the ball.

“I was able to take a breath for a second and be like, ‘All right, that ball’s not going over the fence.’ ”

While Nastrini created memories he’ll cherish, he’s also looking ahead to what’s next.

“What happened, happened,” Nastrini said. “It’s in the past. I’ve got to focus on who we are playing next. So I’ve got to keep working and doing my job every single day.

“That’s what I’m getting paid to do, that’s what I’m here to do — get better every single day and try to prepare, bring some energy into the clubhouse and dugout and try to win ballgames.”

Cannon was scheduled to start Tuesday against the Royals, but that game was postponed because of rain. He got the ball in Game 1 of Wednesday’s doubleheader, allowing one run on three hits with three strikeouts and one walk in five innings. He did not factor in the decision in the 4-2 loss.

“It was pretty surreal because I had the rainout the day before,” Cannon said of walking into the clubhouse for the first time as a major-leaguer. “It was pretty crazy, waiting all day and then it gets pushed back. I was like, ‘Man, I’ve got to sleep on it again.’

“But it was a pretty surreal moment and that feeling hasn’t gone away yet.”

One of his favorite parts of Wednesday was catching up with his family on the field after the game.

“I know they’ll never forget it, and I definitely won’t either,” Cannon said.

He is “taking it one day at a time” as he gets ready for his second start.

“Trying to stay in my routine and treat it like another start and be prepared for Monday,” Cannon said.