Up until now, I've been a proponent of Michael Kopech getting an opportunity to continue his development at the major-league level.
However, the White Sox's top pitching prospect gave me pause with a poor performance Thursday night.
In Charlotte's 6-4 loss to the Norfolk Tides, Kopech walked eight, threw five wild pitches, hit two batters and threw only 35 of his 86 pitches for strikes. He struck out two and gave up two hits.
He only lasted three innings, and somehow, he only gave up five runs.
The control problems continue a trend for Kopech, who has had three uneven outings in row. Here is his composite pitching line from his past three starts:
11 IP, 12 H, 14 R, 14 ER, 17 BB, 14 K, 3 HBPs
OK, I'll relent and say general manager Rick Hahn is doing the right thing by keeping Kopech at Charlotte a little longer. However, I still believe Eloy Jimenez should have been promoted from Birmingham to Triple-A by now.
Indians 5, White Sox 2
I can't say Carlos Rodon's second start back from the disabled list Thursday was a bad one -- he didn't lose -- Chris Volstad took the loss in relief.
But Rodon was not sharp, so let's call the outing "laborious."
The left-hander went five innings, allowing two runs on two hits. He struck out four, walked three and hit two batters. A low point came in the third inning when he walked Yan Gomes with the bases loaded to force in the tying run.
We'd all like to see Rodon get deeper into games, but the score was tied at 2 when he left the game after five, so he gave the Sox a chance to win.
The Indians won, however, after Jose Ramirez broke the tie with a two-out, two-strike, two-run home run off Volstad in the top of the seventh. Volstad had a first base open, and he just got too much of the plate with his pitch.
I was frustrated with that outcome, because Edwin Encarnacion was the on-deck hitter for Cleveland in that situation. Although Encarnacion is an accomplished hitter, he is mired in a 2-for-19 slump.
I'd rather take my chances with him, righty-on-righty, than let Cleveland's most dangerous hitter (Ramirez) beat me.
Ramirez, in this case, burned the Sox, who settled for a split of the four-game series.
Friday, June 15, 2018
Monday, June 27, 2016
|Todd Frazier (21)|
I feel like U.S. Cellular Field was overrun with Toronto fans this weekend -- especially during Saturday's game.
I blame White Sox management for the large quantities of visiting fans that have been populating the Cell this season. Seven years without a playoff appearance has led to fewer Sox fans wanting to come to the park and support the team, so that makes more tickets available for fans of the visiting club.
I get that, but that didn't make it any less annoying when I had the Toronto version of Ronnie "Woo Woo" Wickers seated to my left on Saturday.
I have little patience for fans who excessively celebrate mundane things, such as major league players executing routine defensive plays. On Saturday, I heard more "Wooooooooooo!" than I care to discuss. This fan seemed pretty excited every time a Blue Jays fielder successfully caught a pop fly.
Even though the Sox lost Saturday, they took two out of three in the series, and Mr. "Wooooooooooo!" can go back to Canada secure in the knowledge that his beloved Jays went 1-5 against the Sox this season.
Here's a look back at the weekend that was:
Friday, June 25
White Sox 3, Blue Jays 2: Todd Frazier's two-out RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning scored Tim Anderson with what proved to be the winning run in a game that was nip-and-tuck throughout.
It's been an interesting season for Frazier, to say the least. His batting average has been hovering around the Mendoza line -- he's at .201 through Sunday's play -- and that has led to fans drawing comparisons between him and past Sox busts such as Adam Dunn and Adam LaRoche.
Thing is, Frazier has 21 home runs and 49 RBIs, which puts him on pace to hit about 44 homers and knock in 104 runs if he keeps this pace over 162 games.
LaRoche had only 12 homers and 44 RBIs for the entire 2015 season, and I struggle to come up with any key hits he had for the Sox.
Frazier needs to get more hits, no question about that, but at least he has provided some key hits at important times that have produced victory for the Sox. Friday night was the latest example.
Closer David Robertson escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the ninth to preserve this win. He struck out Edwin Encarnacion on a 3-2 pitch, then got Michael Saunders to pop out to shortstop to end a heart-stopping inning.
Saturday, June 26
Blue Jays 10, White Sox 8: Now I've seen everything. The Sox out-homered the Blue Jays, 7-1, in this game, but still managed to lose, thanks to poor starting pitching by Miguel Gonzalez.
Toronto had a 5-0 lead by the time it finished hitting in the second inning. The Sox fought back -- Brett Lawrie's inside-the-park home run was the first of back-to-back-to-back home runs that brought the South Siders within two runs at 5-3.
Dioner Navarro and J.B. Shuck went deep during the barrage against Toronto starter R.A. Dickey.
Lawrie would go on to become the first Sox player since Ron Santo(!) to hit a inside-the-parker and a conventional homer in the same game. Santo accomplished that feat June 9, 1974, in a loss to the Boston Red Sox at Comiskey Park.
Shortly after the Sox got back into Saturday's game, Gonzalez put them back in the hole by coughing up a three-run top of the fourth inning that extended Toronto's lead to 8-3.
The Sox chipped away, mostly with solo home runs. Lawrie went deep in the fourth and added an RBI single in the sixth. Anderson homered in the seventh. Alex Avila's blast in the eighth made it 8-7.
But Toronto scored two insurance runs in the top of the ninth to go up 10-7, which proved important when Adam Eaton hit a solo home run in the bottom of the ninth to cap the scoring.
Sunday, June 27
White Sox 5, Blue Jays 2: Chris Sale once again showed why he is the best pitcher in the American League with another masterful performance in the rubber match.
He shut the Jays out through the first seven innings, and needed only 99 pitches to get through the eighth. Sale struck out seven, walked only two and allowed five hits to pick up his major league-best 13th victory of the season.
The Sox got a three-hit day from Melky Cabrera and another home run from Anderson to build a 4-0 lead through seven innings.
Toronto finally chipped away at Sale with two in the eighth on solo home runs by Troy Tulowitzki and Junior Lake.
Shuck, of all people, answered with a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth that made the Sox lead a little more comfortable at 5-2.
There would be no drama from Robertson on this day. He needed just 10 pitches to retire Josh Donaldson, Encarnacion and Saunders, all on lazy fly balls to the outfield. The Sox closer is now 20 for 22 in save opportunities this season.
The Sox have won two consecutive series and have pulled their record back to .500 at 38-38. Next up, three games at home against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.