Michael Kopech only threw two innings in his MLB debut, and Joe Mauer was the only batter he faced twice, so there’s not a whole lot to take away from his first start. He established his fastball and waited for the Twins to force a change. Even though he spent a lot of time in the middle of the zone, they couldn’t — maybe because the heat was high enough.
The chart also shows that the sliders didn’t get him in trouble — two swinging strikes, one looking, one ball in play out of eight. Kopech said his favorite pitch was a swing-and-miss changeup, which indeed was a dandy …
I liked Benetti's reaction to Kopech's first changeup. pic.twitter.com/vQYLYnoQPK
— Jim Margalus 🥌 (@SoxMachine) August 22, 2018
… but as you see from the other green dots, he got under the subsequent changeups he threw.
While Kopech kept himself mostly under control, he did slip into overthrowing a few times, most notably an inside fastball that clipped Robbie Grossman after CB Bucknor didn’t give him strike three on a good-looking inside-corner heater. The Twins did what they could to rattle him by fouling off 16 pitches, which contributed to the kind of early Carlos Rodon inefficiency I imagined from him, but it didn’t succeed in derailing the abbreviated start.
I also assumed Kopech would have some issues with channeling energy, because he often ran hot even in Triple-A games with much lower stakes (figuratively, although he also sweated a ton). With this as his history, the way he pitched over a pair of singles to start his night ranks as his most impressive accomplishment in his two-inning career.
Kopech was a little disappointed by the weather curtailing his debut, and he has 20,000 or people right there with him. It’s hard to argue with other elements. The Sox sold more than 9,000 tickets on his name alone, he’s in the books now, and he still has an 0.00 ERA despite a quivering lip, so it’s not all that bad.
“It was a dream come true. It’s everything I thought about since a little kid. I was pumped,” Kopech said. “You see the fans engaged the way they were. It really made me feel more comfortable and feel like I belonged. I just tried to do what I do best and throw strikes.”
If the rotation holds — and if he doesn’t get the job done in Detroit on Sunday — fans might have a shot to see his first MLB victory when the Sox come back home to face Boston.
Last night was exactly what a good Sox game is supposed to be. The crowd was so engaged on every pitch he threw.
I had three Sox Park regulars all say I knew we’d see you guys here, referring to me and my brother. Mandatory attendance for a certain crowd I suppose. As far as Sox blog themed internet friends, section 130 was the place to be. Within earshot and a few paces from handshakes were old sss screen names Colin, grinder in training and wmaq. A happy coincidence.
My brother hollered at the guy in front of him documenting the occasion with some video to lower his phone because he couldn’t see the plate. Unbeknownst to him it was Lawrence Holmes, which was pretty amusing, as he’s a pretty big fan of the guys work.
The tarp squashed some of the enthusiasm, but it was nice to see what felt like meaningful baseball at the park for the first time this season.
Ah, yes, meaningful baseball – the dream of Sox fans everywhere.
Cool kids represent
Aw man I was in 130 too! I did see Colin.
…That poncy fuck.
I was with “Limo Joe”, it was his tickets, and he was content to stay further out with less crowds so I stuck with him with the intention of catching ya’ll about mid-game. We both ended up bugging out once the tarp was pulled halfway but then went back on.
So I saw all of Kopech, but missed you guys. Frickin’ awesome energy last night, starting even on the Red Line with some fellow “of a certain crowd” that got on up way up North with me.
Goodbye Avilan. Hello Burr.
Thanks, Sox Machine, for the 40-man article earlier this week, which explains why it’s Burr and not Hamilton being called up.
Really just can’t wait for them both to be here. Maybe Lin-Manuel Miranda will become a Sox fan. (Sorry, my history and theater nerd is showing.)
Frankly, I think they should have dueled for the roster spot.
Same result anyway
Great, now Josh is going to have to get your permission to use those for podcast titles.
Sometimes this stuff just writes itself too well.
Burr beating Hamilton ha
Why Rondon instead of Eloy? Nicky could move to first and platoon with Davidson and Eloy could take over in left. Hahn could really have built on the excitement of Kopech’s arrival with Eloy coming up. I would hope he brings him up at the start of the next homestand.
I’m guessing (hoping?) they want to make it an event.
Yeah, bringing him up for today’s game wouldn’t have created much buzz. I would expect him up next Thursday vs. Boston, or the following week vs Detroit at the latest.
The White Sox still don’t exist.
I went to the original article on ESPN, to see if the image you linked to had been doctored (to troll Sox fans), but NO! The article is correct, but the headline is not:
Definitely not shopped, I personally screenshot it.
I wanted to read a bit more on Paulino, and that article is the second result under ‘news’ on google.
Hamilton & Frare will join Burr in about two weeks once roster’s expand.
So the Sox got Kodi Medeiros, Felix Paulino, and Wilbur Perez for Jake Peter.
That’s a pretty decent return.
It will be interesting to see if Medeiros and Paulino get protected in November as Peter was not protected last November. I assume Medeiros is a shoe-in for the 40-man, the others not likely. Hard to think of a better outcome for the Sox when 10 months ago they faced a tough question about whether to protect Peter or not. Hahn really played the low-payroll rebuild cards well here, as there’s no way they take the Soria and Avilan contracts with a league-average payroll.
I like the return but it was all about them taking on that payroll. Good move for a rebuilding team, hopefully they try something similar next offseason.
Medeiros almost certainly, as a lefthander someone would probably roll the dice on him as a LOOGY in their pen for a year. Paulino seems less likely to be selected in a Rule 5. Righty, only reached AA last month and hasn’t performed well (albeit starting there rather than relief where he probably ends up).
*Jake Peter and about $5.5M