The sun was out on a chilly Chicago day, and Michael Kopech started on the mound for the afternoon game against the Rangers. Runs started off early for the White Sox, and Kopech struck out nearly every batter he faced — totaling 10 K’s in five innings. Break out the brooms, White Sox fans. That’s a series sweep!
Lucas Giolito was scheduled to face righthander Kohei Arihara, but Giolito sliced his finger on a glass water bottle. No, I am not making that up.
Instead, we have Michael Kopech with limited pitches as he works to stretch out. As Steve Stone said at the beginning of the broadcast, it’s not if but when he earns a spot in the starting rotation, so while these limited-pitch starts are taxing on the bullpen, they are beneficial in the long run.
Here is the breakdown for Micheal Kopech:
4-seam fastball: 63% | 14 called strikes + 25 whiffs | 98.6 mph avg.
Slider: 18% | 2 called strikes + 4 whiffs | 85.3 mph avg.
Curveball: 10% | 4 called strikes + 5 whiffs | 82.4 mph avg.
Changeup: 8% | 0 called strikes + 0 whiffs (31%) | 90.6 mph avg.
Kopech started dominating early, recording all six outs via strikeouts in the first two innings. Tony La Russa allowed Kopech to go five innings, before pulling him at 87 pitches.
Michael Kopech, Wicked 85mph Slider. pic.twitter.com/yxPP6qNHKq— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 25, 2021
Here is the breakdown for Kohei Arihara:
4-seam fastball: 37% | 6 called strikes + 6 whiffs | 92.3 mph avg.
Cutter: 21% | 2 called strikes + 4 whiffs | 87.5 mph avg.
Changeup: 14% | 0 called strikes + 2 whiffs | 85.7 mph avg.
Sinker: 10% | 0 called strikes + 0 whiffs | 91.9 mph avg.
Slider: 10% | 2 called strikes + 2 whiffs | 81.0 mph avg.
Splitter: 4% | 6 called strikes + 6 whiffs | 83.1 mph avg.
Curveball: 3% | 0 called strikes + 0 whiffs | 78.1 mph avg.
It appears as thought Arihara’s hype music was Pantera today, because in the first inning alone he took the advice to “Walk” nearly everyone. At the 37-pitch mark in the first inning, the Rangers were already warming up the bullpen. Arihara left the game after two innings and 70 pitches. Even Steve Stone had jokes.
Fastest pitch: Kopech tossed a 4-Seam Fastball at a whopping 98.6 mph, making it look easy.
Most swing-and-misses: Kopech dominated the game in nearly every way, and as no surprise led with 14 swing-and-misses.
Leury García had the most pressure in the game, during a second inning at-bat. With two outs, García hit a pop fly out to right field, ending the inning. In a mostly low-pressure game with the White Sox holding a big lead throughout, that out topped the charts at 1.95 LI.
Today was not the day to be a pitcher or right fielder for the Rangers. Arihara’s bad day on the mound ended with a pLI of 0.79. The next closest was Joey Gallo at 0.69. For the White Sox, Garrett Crochet faced the most pressure, as he worked through the top of the Rangers batting order. Crochet finished with a pLI of 0.72.
In typical #MVPito fashion, José Abreu went yard, bringing himself and Yoán Moncada home. This was the start of something magical for the White Sox offensively, getting the club off to a 2-0 lead. Abreu’s home run tipped the WPA scale to .188.
Abreu was also the Top Performer, setting the gears in motion with his early home run. He ended his day with a WPA of .203, hopefully silencing the slump rumors. It’s worth noting that Abreu also crossed the threshold of 2,000 career bases during today’s game.
Luckiest hit: Zack Collins had luck on his side during a single in the fourth inning off of Brett Martin. The ball only went four feet, and despite an xBA only .050, Collins was safe at first.
Toughest out: While Abreu had a great game, he also had the toughest out, an .890 xBA line out in the fifth inning.
Hardest hit: If you made it this far, I imagine your guess would be reigning MVP champ, José Abreu. You would be correct! His home run in the first inning went 416 feet, at 110.8 mph. Pito, that ball had a family.
Weakest contact: Adam Eaton had the three weakest contacts of the game! OK, the worst of all was a third-inning sac bunt (36.1 mph), but he also was plenty weak in two at-bats where he was actually trying to hit the ball hard: a 51.3 mph ground out in the seventh inning, and a 56.7 mph “line out” for a double play in the first.
Longest hit: Again, Abreu’s home run in the first went 416 feet.
The next-longest hit was David Dahl off Kopech in the second inning, going out at 377 feet.
Magic Number: 87
After nearly two years away, Michael Kopech was able to throw 87 pitches in five innings. What an incredible achievement for the young pitcher.
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 in their 8-4 win over the Rangers on Sunday?
This poll is closed
José Abreu: 2-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, .203 WPA
Michael Kopech: 5 IP, W, 10 K, 4H, ER, HR, .100 WPA
Nick Madrigal: 2-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, 3B, LOB, .085 WPA
Tim Anderson: 1-for-4, 2B, RBI, R, BB, 2 K, 3 LOB, .105 WPA
Who was the White Sox Cold Cat in their 8-4 win over the Rangers on Sunday?
This poll is closed
Leury Garcia: 1-for-4, R, 5 LOB, -.038 WPA
Jonathan Stiever: 0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, -.082 WPA, bus ticket back to Schaumburg postgame
Yoan Moncada: 0-for-3, R, 2 BB, K, LOB, -.012 WPA
Luis Robert: 0-for-3, BB, K, LOB, .000 WPA
South Side Sox Reader Stats
In a 212-comment gamethread, steely3000 killed it, despite threats from Lurker Laura:
Some punny work from Schoolly_D and horror1967, tying for green honors with three recs apiece: