Bring out the broomsticks! The Chicago White Sox remained victorious today for the fourth straight time, and were able to secure the series sweep against the Texas Rangers with an 8-4 win. Improving to 12-9 on the year, the South Siders are starting to heat it up, and showed great signs of pitching, offense, and defense today.
Although it is hard to just pick one star of today’s game, Michael Kopech seems to take the crown, going five innings with 10 strikeouts. Kopech recorded all of his strikeouts before the fifth inning, and was the first White Sox starter to strike out 10 batters in four innings or fewer since Carlos Rodón in 2017. He even got a shoutout from a Super Bowl champion quarterback/former opponent of Kopech on the mound.
I know he isn’t on the right team but my guy is a monster! https://t.co/Q3ydXLIntI— Patrick Mahomes II (@PatrickMahomes) April 25, 2021
Correction, Patrick, he is on the right team actually, but as part-owner of the Kansas City Royals I see the rivalry stance. Also yes, Mahomes and Kopech went head-to-head on the mound back in the day, which is pretty cool.
Now, back to the game. The top of the first inning was a breeze for Kopech, as he struck out three even though he allowed a single to Isiah Kiner-Falefa. In the bottom of the first, things started out shaky from the jump for righty Kohei Arihara. Although Arihara still has tremendous potential, today was not his day, especially control-wise. He allowed a leadoff walk to Tim Anderson, and a walk to Yoán Moncada later in the inning, which led to a much-needed José Abreu home run!
This put the team on the board early 2-0, and gave Pito his 2,003rd career base in his career. The current total bases leader for the White Sox is Paul Konerko at 4,010, so it’s gonna take Abreu a few more years to possibly catch up to him.
Arihara allowed back to back walks to Yermín Mercedes and Luis Robert, and then a Zack Collins single loaded the bases up. At this point, Arihara was already getting high in the pitch count and had four walks in the first inning, so all he was focusing on was that third out, and he was able to get it after a fly out from Leury García.
Kopech struck out three again in the bottom of the second inning, but also did allow a home run to David Dahl to cut the Sox lead to 2-1.
The Sox came on back in the bottom of the inning and led it off with a Nick Madrigal double. Technically, the ruling is a single and error by Joey Gallo, but everyone including Madrigal seems to see it as a double. Anderson came up and smacked another double to drive in Madrigal and make it 3-1, followed by an Adam Eaton triple to score Anderson and make it 4-1.
Abreu would later drive in Eaton with a sacrifice fly to right field to make it 5-1. Mercedes continued his hot hitting with a single, before Robert flew out to end the inning.
In the top of the third, Kopech opened it up with another strikeout, a ground out, and a single by Kiner-Falefa before striking out Joey Gallo to end the inning. In the bottom of the inning, Arihara was replaced by righty Brett de Geus. Arihara’s day ended after two innings with six hits, five runs, and four walks. His ERA is now at 4.03, while his record falls to 2-2.
Zack Collins started off the bottom half with a walk, followed by a single by García. After a wild pitch, runners advanced to second and third, for ... who other than last night’s walk-off hero, Madrigal. Madrigal was able to smack a triple into center field to drive the runs in and make it 7-1.
Could Nick hit for the cycle, after a double and triple by the bottom of the third? Update: He didn’t. He hasn’t hit that first home run just yet, but it’s always fun to imagine. Eaton brought home Madrigal with a bunt to make it 8-1 later in the inning.
Kopech came out and struck out two more batters in the top of the fourth, reaching his 10th strikeout. His fastball seemed to have great movement on it, and was the pitch that caught a lot of Rangers off-guard. Although his innings are being monitored closely after his recovery from Tommy John surgery, he returned back out for the fifth inning and got out of the inning cleanly after allowing a single to Nick Solak. Kopech went five innings, allowing just four hits, one run, and no walks, dropping his ERA to 1.72 and WHIP to 0.70.
Although many fans would love to see Kopech in the starting rotation as soon as possible, Tony La Russa assured fans that he will take it day-by-day and appearance-by-appearance when it comes to Kopech and his development. As of right now, he will continue to come out of the bullpen and spot-start if necessary, but it is important to take it slow so that he can work up to being a key component in the starting rotation sooner than later.
Rookie Jonathan Stiever came in to start the top of the sixth after being called up from Schaumburg this morning to make his first big-league appearance of the season. Unfortunately, Stiever allowed a single to Willie Calhoun, a single to Kiner-Falefa, and a single to Gallo to load the bases with no outs. Lowe hit another single to make it 8-2 for the Rangers before the rookie was pulled and replaced by Garrett Crochet. Following today’s game, Stiever was sent back down to Schaumburg to continue to sharpen up his skills and improve for his next major league opportunity.
Crochet was able to get Adolis Garcia to ground out for the first out, but the run scored to make it 8-3. After a pop out, Solak singled on a soft grounder to Crochet to make it 8-4, AKA too close for comfort. Luckily, Crochet struck out Brock Holt to end the inning.
Offensively, the White Sox weren’t able to tag on any more runs, but Collins was able to get his first three-hit game of his career. All three of his hits were actually infield singles, which you don’t seem to see much from catchers, but leave it to Collins to get on no matter how it may be.
Crochet came back out to pitch scoreless seventh and eighth innings, and José Ruiz came to close out the game in the ninth. Ruiz and his 2.35 ERA has been a pleasant surprise for Sox fans this year, and has delivered in the innings he has pitched. He was able to retire Holt, Jonah Heim, and Kiner-Falefa after a walk to Calhoun to secure the 8-4 win.
Now at 6-1 in their last seven games, it seems like the South Siders are starting to figure it out as the April showers are ending and the May flowers are beginning.
The team will open up another home series against the Detroit Tigers starting on Tuesday. Although it seems like we’ve had more off-days this month than we had all of last season, we will get another one tomorrow.
Lucas Giolito and his hopefully-healed finger will face off against the Tigers, as their pitcher is to be announced. Joe Resis is pulling the rare recap-Six Pack doubleheader for you with Tuesday coverage.
But enjoy the off-day tomorrow, and get ready for another possible sweep coming up!