As we navigate through the five stages of grief over Michael Kopech losing the 2019 season due to Tommy John surgery, this recap is a reminder that there were still 22 games remaining in this painful 2018 edition.
The first of those 22 kicked off just a couple of hours after the grave news that Kopech’s modest velocity dip on Wednesday night was in fact a sign of UCL injury, necessitating surgery. Perhaps apropos for a team that was just told its rebound season next year, chasing a 2018 run at 100 losses, just got that much harder, the Chicago White Sox couldn’t muster much against the Angels, losing the opener of a three-game set, 5-2.
Carlos Rodón, no stranger to surgery, hoped to hit the mound and pitch lights-out in tribute to his fallen comrade, but the killer southpaw’s stuff was a bit dull tonight. More or less the hottest starter in baseball since his delayed, post-rehab return to the rotation at midseason, Rodón couldn’t get out of the fifth, stalling out at 4 2⁄3 innings, four earned, six hits, five walks, four Ks, a homer and a hit batsman, rounding down to a 32 game score.
Rodón cruised through the first and actually took a 1-0 lead (Avisaíl García dinger) into the heavy traffic of his third, fourth and fifth. In the fourth, the swarthy lefty not only invited trouble but sat it down for a multi-course dinner, walking Kole Calhoun and David Fletcher and hitting Mike Trout with an 0-2 fastball to pack the sacks. When the infield dust cleared, Rodón was down, 4-1, and the Angels had all the runs they’d need to pocket the ballgame.
It’s worth adding that the major damage inflicted in the fourth came from future TJS rehabber Shohei Ohtani, who clocked a three-run homer that cost Adam Engel both a shoulder bruise and lost glove in his longball theft attempt:
Meanwhile, Rodón bit his thumb, so to speak, watching the inches that separated him from the lead in the game:
On the plus side, García mauled tonight, clocking that wind-aided solo shot in the second — the only extra-base hit for Chicago — and scoring both White Sox runs.
Another plus, in a losing cause, was the work of the bullpen, who combined for 4 1⁄3 innings, three hits, one earned, one walk, seven whiffs and a homer. Aaron Bummer was the only one of a trio including Dylan Covey and Jeanmar Gómez who was touched at all.
After a nice run to finish August, the White Sox still find themselves at a 98-loss pace for 2018, a pace solidified a skosh by the injury news of the day.
It’s James Shields, fully intact and still Big-Gaming, on the bump tomorrow night. Till then, fellow men and women in black.