The Chicago White Sox drop game two of the series to the Toronto Blue Jays, 7-3, dropping them to 23-25 and now having to avoid a sweep tomorrow. Michael Kopech didn’t have his usual untouchable stuff tonight, and the team wasn’t able to capitalize off of runners in scoring position.
To start the game, AJ Pollock in the leadoff spot seemed to be working just fine, as he connected on a high fastball for a home run off of Hyun-Jin Ryu.
The 1-0 lead didn’t last long though, as the leadoff hitter for the Blue Jays, Santiago Espinal, matched AJ’s energy and socked a leadoff home run of his own to tie the ballgame, 1-1. The Blue Jays tagged on another run on Michael Kopech in the bottom of the second as Matt Chapman had a single, followed by a Raimel Tapia double and a walk to Espinal. With the bases loaded, the dreaded walk came to Bo Bichette, forcing Chapman in from third base.
In the bottom of the third, Kopech gave up a three-run home run to Danny Jansen to crack the game open 5-1.
But wait, not too fast ...
In the top of the fourth inning, Andrew Vaughn reached on a fielding error by Teoscar Hernández, triggering an absolute bomb by José Abreu that cut the lead to 5-3.
We always talk about how good summer Abreu is at the plate, and it looks like summer came right on time again in 2022, as he has been heating up and helping this offense tremendously.
Tony La Russa turned to the bullpen early, as Kyle Crick replaced Kopech to start the bottom of the fourth.
Overall, Kopech didn’t have the best night, as his control wasn’t consistent and his pitch count was high early on leading to an early exit. The fireballer admitted postgame that the high-octane Toronto offense got into his head, and we was trying to be too fine with his pitches. Kopech’s worst start of the season rang up as three innings with six hits, five runs, four walks, and four strikeouts. His ERA now sits at 2.20.
But don’t worry, we have a great play by Leury García to make up for it, maybe.
The Blue Jays went to their bullpen early as well, as Ryu was pulled to start the top of the fifth. He went four innings with four hits, three runs, and four strikeouts.
The score remained 5-3 for most of the game. Many opportunities came for the White Sox, including a situation in the sixth inning with runners on first and third with one out. You may want to sit down for this, but: No runs came across. In the seventh inning, the bases were loaded for Abreu with two outs, but he was unable to drive them in to tie it up.
Bennett Sousa entered to pitch the eighth, thrown right into the teeth of Toronto’s right-handed bullies. Unsurprisingly, with two outs Vladimir Guerrero Jr. put the nail in the coffin, rocketing a two-run home run to extend the Jays lead to 7-3.
The South Siders whimpered through the ninth, and the Blue Jays grabbed a seventh straight win.
When does the time for panic start? Some may have said April, some May, but right now the main focus should be getting everyone healthy again and finding some rhythm. This next stretch of games should be the most challenging yet for the White Sox, but little by little we are seeing signs of offensive improvement, despite the constant roadblocks and injuries. The main thing the offense needs to focus on now should be scoring with RISP.
Eloy Jiménez returned to the Charlotte Knights lineup tonight as the DH, where he went 1-for-4. Luis Robert returned to the White Sox lineup tonight. Yoán Moncada made an appearance pitch-hitting, and Tim Anderson should be back in less than a month. Things aren’t looking the best right now, but hopefully the team is able to reach their potential sooner or later and we can look back at the first quarter of this season and it will all just be a memory (or a nightmare for some). Sure, the White Sox will need to go 67-47 just to reach 90 wins this season, but hey, that’s just math. (And the ALC could be won with fewer than 90 wins this year, anyway.)
Chicago will face a tough assignment in Alek Manoah tomorrow, as they try and avoid the sweep before going to Tampa Bay. Johnny Cueto will be on the mound, and it’s a Leigh Allan, Chrystal O’Keefe and Jacki Krestel coverage lineup at SSS. Game time will be at 2:07 p.m. CT.