I can’t say I expected the White Sox to sweep Sunday’s doubleheader against the Red Sox, but with a 5-1 win, they’ll head into Monday’s morning game with plenty of momentum. The White Sox (8-8) never trailed in either game, being led by strong pitching and quick offensive starts.
It turns out Michael Kopech is just as devastating to hitters as a starting pitcher. He was perfect through three innings, but then walked Enrique Hernández and gave up a single to Alex Verdugo to lead off the fourth inning. Tony La Russa smartly pulled Kopech, who conceded an earned run and also struck out four batters, which all came on his 4-seam fastball.
Here’s the breakdown of Kopech’s 41-pitch outing:
4-seam fastball: 56% | 5 called strikes + 3 whiffs (50%) | 96.3 mph avg.
Slider: 24% | 1 called strike + 1 whiff (20%) | 84.1 mph avg.
Curveball: 12% | 1 called strike + 0 whiffs | 80.1 mph avg.
Changeup: 7% | 0 called strikes + 0 whiffs | 90.5 mph avg.
Kopech’s previous season-high pitch count sat at 34 pitches prior to Sunday, so it wasn’t too big of a stretch for him to get to 41. His slider was 2.1 mph slower than his season average, but the rest of his arsenal had roughly the same speed as when he came out of the bullpen.
It’ll be interesting to see how he pitches when he gets a chance to go through the batting order a second, and potentially third, time. However, considering Boston had back-to-back players get on to start the fourth inning and Kopech’s pitch count raised to a season high, it was the right time to hand it over to the bullpen.
High heat. Michael Kopech looked dominant in his first start since 2018! pic.twitter.com/Pff9yjjm07— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) April 18, 2021
As it usually goes for left-handed starters against the White Sox, Martin Perez didn’t find much success on Sunday evening. He exited after 3 2⁄3 innings, giving up four earned runs on seven hits and striking out four batters. It would have been even worse, had the White Sox executed with runners in scoring position.
The White Sox opened the game with three straight singles, but only scored one run. In the third inning, they had runners on first and second with one out, but José Abreu grounded into a double play. Chicago had five hard-hit balls (85.8 mph average exit velocity), but none in the aforementioned situations.
The White Sox started to have some BABIP luck in the fourth inning, blowing open a game they should’ve right away against Perez. They evidently saw Perez’s pitches well from the start, as they only had two swing-andmisses.
Here’s a breakdown of Perez’s 58-pitch start:
Cutter: 36% | 4 called strikes + 0 whiffs | 90 mph avg.
Changeup: 22% | 4 called strikes + 0 whiffs | 84.9 mph avg.
Sinker: 19% | 6 called strikes + 0 whiffs | 92.4 mph avg.
Curveball: 12% | 4 called strikes + 1 whiff (33%) | 78.4 mph avg.
4-seam fastball: 10% | 0 called strikes + 1 whiff (50%) | 93.4 mph avg.
Fastest pitch: Kopech owned the eight fastest pitches of the game, capping at 98.2 mph. Alex Verdugo took that pitch for a ball.
Most swing-and-misses: Kopech also led all pitches with four whiffs, translating to a 22% whiff rate. Garrett Crochet and Matt Foster each had three whiffs.
Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers each had a chance to tie the game in the fourth inning against Matt Foster. Boston had runners on first and second with no outs in a 4-1 game, but Bogaerts flied out to center (2.72 LI) and Devers fouled out to Yoán Moncada (2.56 LI). The back-to-back at-bats represented the highest-pressure plays.
Matt Foster faced the most individual pressure, with a 1.89 pLI. He relieved Michael Kopech, inheriting a pair of runners with no outs. Foster gave up an RBI-single to J.D. Martinez, but then forced three straight outs to end the inning.
Yermín Mercedes swayed another game, as his home run to lead off the fourth inning gave the White Sox an 11.7% (.117 WPA) boost to win the game. The White Sox went up 2-0, and then tacked on two more runs later in the inning.
Matt Foster also took home top performer honors. He struck out two batters in 1 2⁄3 innings, giving him 0.14 WPA.
He narrowly edged Michael Kopech, Yoán Moncada and Luis Robert, who all had 0.11 WPA.
Luckiest hit: Xander Bogaerts hit a short pop fly down the right field line, which only had a .060 xBA. However, Leury García pulled up and let it bounce into the stands for a double.
Toughest out: Luis Robert seems to be good for at least one hard-hit out every game, and he added to his growing total on Sunday. He hit a line drive 106.7 mph, but Rafael Devers caught it; the liner projected to an .850 xBA.
Hardest hit: Yermín Mercedes can’t be stopped. After going hitless in the first game of the doubleheader and striking out in his first at-bat of the second contest, Mercedes unleashed a 109.9 mph home run into left-center field.
Weakest contact: García softly hit a ball between Martin Perez and third baseman Rafael Devers. Perez tried to field the ball, but couldn’t get it to first base in time, giving García a single. It was hit at a mere 63 mph and had a .170 xBA.
Longest hit: Mercedes’ mammoth shot traveled 431 feet.
Magic Number: 5
The White Sox have now scored a run in the first inning in five consecutive games. This comes after they scored in the first inning once in their first 11 games. The streak started after they failed to score in a 10-inning loss to Cleveland.
LI measures pressure per play
pLI measures total pressure faced in game
Whiff a swing-and-miss
WPA win probability added measures contributions to the win
xBA expected batting average
Who was the White Sox MVP during their 5-1 win on Sunday?
This poll is closed
Michael Kopech: 3 IP, ER, HA, 4 SO, BB
Matt Foster: 1 2/3 IP, HA, 2 SO
Nick Madrigal: 2-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI
Luis Robert: 2-for-4, 2B
Who was the White Sox Cold Cat during their 5-1 win on Sunday?
This poll is closed
José Abreu: 0-for-4, RBI, 2 GIDP
Zack Collins: 0-for-2, BB, SO
Andrew Vaughn: 1-for-3, SO
South Side Sox Reader Stats
It was a 167-comment nightcap, and steely3000 stretches his streak to three games:
And again, no clear winner with the most rec-d, but this time it’s obnoxious american on the board twice, as Schoolly_D did in the opener: