Is it OK if I admit I’m having a blast watching this current White Sox team?
Today’s victory was yet another example of the fire Michael Kopech has lit in this team with his recent call-up. That has to be it, right? I wonder what would happen if Eloy Jimenez received a promotion, but more about that later.
The Sox recorded just two hits through the first eight innings — one on a leadoff home run from Nicky Delmonico and the other on a Tim Anderson double.
Down 2-1 in the ninth inning, the White Sox got a home run from big boy Daniel Palka — his 21st (!) — and a two-run, walk-off homer from Matt Davidson. A nice 4-2 Labor Day victory.
Palka is hitting the snot out of the baseball. His home run jumped off the bat at 106.6 mph, which is a bit slower than his normal bombs. And Davidson has looked better of late, getting more contact with fewer strikeouts.
Reynaldo Lopez was also good today. He went seven innings of one-run ball, giving up four hits and ...no walks. Oh yes: He added six strikeouts to his total, something the team and fans love to see.
The best part of Lopey’s performance for me was his higher usage of off-speed pitches. He was throwing them for strikes, too. He used his changeup and curveball more often, which ultimately gave his fastball more perceived giddyup. He got Nicholas Castellanos to swing through a 98 mph fastball with runners at the corners to end the third inning.
Hopefully Lopez can continue his recent string of good starts and avoid returning to whatever that was in June and July. If he can continue throwing his off-speed pitches for strikes, I don’t see why he can’t stay in the future rotation. He has the stuff; he just has to miss more bats, which I think he will eventually do.
Don’t let this win overshadow the unfortunate decision of Rick Hahn’s to keep Eloy down in AAA Charlotte. I’m not shocked he kept Jiménez down. Heck, if the decision came down to his abilities, he would have been up in May.
I understand seven years is more than six, and that this is the same thing the Cubs did with Kris Bryant (who made a laughable final play in their game today), but don’t you think this might hurt his player development?
Hahn cited Jimenez needs to get better defensively. I was shocked he kept a straight face through that monologue. Regardless, you’ll see more of Delmonico, Engel and Ryan LaMarre in the outfield for the rest of September.
The Sox are have moved ahead of Detroit for third place in the AL Central with a 56-82 record, and likely for good, if the “Kopech bump” is a real thing. More young talent ascends to the mound tomorrow in Lucas Giolito.