Yesterday, the Chicago White Sox offense featured multiple hitters with multi-hit games and Mike Clevinger striking out 10 against the worst team in baseball.
Only Luis Robert Jr. recorded a base hit tonight, and Michael Kopech got too wild against the American League’s best Baltimore Orioles. The punchless effort resulted in the Orioles winning 9-0.
It wasn’t that long ago that Pedro Grifol addressed Kopech’s future in the starting rotation.
“Him not being a starter is not anywhere close to what we’re thinking and anywhere close to what he should be thinking,” Grifol said. “He’s had some starts where he’s struggled with command, obviously, especially here of late. But there was a month or five weeks there where he was one of the best pitchers in the game. And even the other day, he was able to gain a little bit of confidence as the outing went on, he was up to 98 [mph]. The potential’s there.”James Fegan, Chicago Sun-Times 8/26/2023
After striking out two and walking Gunnar Henderson in the first inning, Kopech got into a jam in the second inning. Ryan O’Hearn singled, and Cedric Mullins lined a double in the right-center gap to put runners in scoring position with no outs.
Grifol called for the infield to play in, hoping for a ground ball to prevent O’Hearn from scoring. That worked when Ramon Urias grounded out to Lenyn Sosa at second base. Then Kopech struck out Adam Frazier and Ryan McKenna to escape without allowing a run. Watching that three-batter sequence lends to the idea of Kopech becoming a front-line starter.
The third and fourth innings suggest Kopech is better suited as a swingman or high-leverage reliever. Baltimore would load the bases in the third inning against Kopech. O’Hearn cashed in that opportunity, driving in two runs with his second base hit.
In the next frame, Baltimore benefited from #WILDPITCHOFFENSE with McKenna walking and using his legs efficiently. After stealing second base, McKenna advanced to third base on Adley Rutschman’s flyout to center field. Then Kopech threw a 53-footer, which Korey Lee couldn’t handle. McKenna scored, and Baltimore was up 3-0.
Orioles offense didn’t stop there. Henderson singled and stole second base. Anthony Santander walked, setting the stage for Ryan Mountcastle, who singled to center field. That base knock scored Henderson, and Baltimore’s lead increased.
At 95 pitches, that was enough for Kopech, who finished with a final line of 4 IP 7 H 4 ER 4 BB 5 K. It’s four straight starts for Kopech failing to pitch past the fifth inning and 13 consecutive starts pitching fewer than six innings.
Baltimore made it a laugher in the eighth inning, scoring five runs off White Sox reliever Edgar Navarro, including a mammoth three-run HR from Anthony Santander. In between Kopech and Navarro was southpaw Sammy Peralta. He pitched very well, tossing three scoreless innings without allowing a hit while walking just one and striking out two.
Offensively, Robert Jr. doubled to deep left field in the fourth inning that might have been a home run at Guaranteed Rate Field. In the seventh inning, Robert singled to center after it deflected off Baltimore reliever Jacob Webb. But Eloy Jimenez grounded into a double play.
Yoan Moncada and Lee walked, but that was the extent of the White Sox offense. Orioles starter Grayson Rodriguez was electric, going 6 IP 1 H 0 R 1 BB 6 K.
- Luis Robert Jr. has 33 doubles for the season.
- Baltimore clinches a winning record in 2023
- White Sox have to finish 30-0 to clinch a winning record in 2023
Record: 52-80 | Box Score