White Sox Minor Keys: May 11, 2018

Michael Kopech unravels in the fourth inning, and Dylan Cease has an even worse night

With Carson Fulmer taking a beating from the Cubs Friday afternoon before Michael Kopech took the mound Friday night, it became very easy to envision a scenario in which the fans could stump for a simple swap.

Through three innings, Kopech looked good for it. Old friend Jason Coats redirected a 98-mph 2-0 fastball over the wall in right for an opposite-field solo shot in the second, but he’d only allowed that hit and a walk while striking out six.

But it all came crashing down in the fourth inning, and so all Kopech dreams will likely be deferred for at least a little while longer.

Kopech suffered through his first disastrous outing of the seaason, allowing eight runs on five hits and four walks over 3 1/3 innings, seven of them scoring in the fourth innng alone.

He retired just one of eight batters he faced over the course of his 32 pitches in the fourth. The sequence:

  1. Solid line-drive single to right.
  2. Walk.
  3. Smoked lineout to center.
  4. Hard bouncer through the middle.
  5. Walk.
  6. No-doubt grand slam (on an off-speed pitch).
  7. Infield single
  8. Walk

The stadium gun showed Kopech mainly working 95-97, topping out at 99 (although he did hit 100 twice). It wasn’t as hard as he’s thrown, but it didn’t seem like a complete issue of stuff.

There was, however, a strange moment in the third inning. Kopech had two outs and nobody on with Kean Wong at the plate. Kopech’s first pitch sailed well over the head of Alfredo Gonzalez and into the screen, and judging from the velocity and action, it looked like a slider that slipped out of his hand.

But then his second pitch was a 50-foot fastball that bounced on the infield grass and nearly over Gonzalez, and the wayward slider suddenly seemed less random. Kopech ended up walking Wong, and then started Willy Adames with another fastball well short of home plate.

Kopech ended up striking Adamas, and so it seemed like he’d smoothed out whatever rough patch he’d hit. It all fell apart the following inning, though, and the Knights didn’t make either Kopech or manager Mark Grudzielanek available after the game, so I don’t have any answers whether the very wild pitches in the third were a harbinger, or whether his fourth inning was entirely unconnected. Maybe they wouldn’t have had any answers, either.

Durham 12, Charlotte 2

  • Charlie Tilson went 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.
  • Eddy Alvarez was 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
  • Michael Kopech: 3.1 IP, 5 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 4 BB, 6 K, 2 HR

Pensacola 7, Birmingham 6

  • Zack Collins went 2-for-4 with a homer, walk and strikeout.
  • Eloy Jimenez has now hit in 15 straight after going 1-for-5 with two strikeouts.
  • Seby Zavala was 0-for-4 with a K.
  • Matt Rose, 0-for-4.
  • Jameson Fisher went 0-for-3 with a walk.
  • Danny Mendick’s average is up to .290 after going 2-for-2 with a double. He also stole a base.
  • Ian Clarkin: 6 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 0 K, 2 HR
  • Jose Ruiz: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K in his Birmingham debut.

Down East 10, Winston-Salem 6

  • Luis Alexander Basabe returned to the lineup, going 1-for-5 with three strikeouts.
  • Alex Call went 2-for-4 with a homer, walk and strikeout.
  • Blake Rutherford was 0-for-5.
  • Micker Adolfo, 1-for-4 with a strikeout.
  • Gavin Sheets went 2-for-4 with a triple and a strikeout.
  • Yermin Mercedes, 1-for-4.
  • Yeyson Yrizarri, 0-for-4 with a K.
  • Dylan Cease got spanked: 2 IP, 9 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, 1 WP

More:

*Josh Norris should be writing something up for Baseball America:

Greenville 6, Kannapolis 4

  • Luis Gonzalez went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout.
  • Justin Yurchak, 0-for-4.
  • Evan Skoug was 0-for-4 with a K.
  • Carlos Perez went 1-for-3.
  • John Park was limited to an inning due to a rain delay: 1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
  • Converted position player Cameron Seitzer took the loss in his Kannapolis debut: 1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP
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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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ParisSox

Between this and the MLB team, a true Black Friday.  

Flitcraft

Any word on Tito Polo? Batted in the first inning of Thursday’s game, played two innings in the field, didn’t come out to his position for the third. He wasn’t in the line-up last night. No luck searching the usual spots on my own. Any update, anyone?

Probables: Tomshaw, Dunning, Martinez, Rigler