The Chicago White Sox dropped their second straight to the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre on Wednesday night, falling behind 5-1 and failing to complete a rally behind Michael Kopech on a night in which he couldn’t carry the team. The White Sox are now 23-25 on the season, putting them more than a game away from .500 for the first time in nearly a month.
Whatever extra oomph Michael Kopech brought to his Sunday Night Baseball gem against New York last week simply wasn’t there tonight. The young righty suffered his shortest outing of the season, needing 85 pitches to get through just three innings against the Blue Jays, getting dinged for a season-high five runs along the way. The majority of that damage came courtesy of a Danny Jansen three-run homer delivered as a tiring Kopech neared the 40-pitch mark of the third inning, and the all-too-hittable fastball it came on was representative of Kopech’s day as a whole: He just didn’t really know where the ball was going. Just 46 of those 85 pitches landed for strikes, and he couldn’t quite execute any put-away pitches when he needed to, drawing a puny five swings-and-misses against an admittedly very good offense. That 5.8% swinging strike rate was the second-lowest he’s rung up in any appearance since returning from Tommy John surgery; not a winning recipe against a team that can take the ball out like Toronto can.
Kopech’s 85-pitch effort looked like this:
Hyun Jin Ryu hasn’t had great stuff for most of this season, and he didn’t have it tonight, either, allowing home runs to AJ Pollock and José Abreu but otherwise dancing around trouble before leaving the game with forearm tightness after four innings. He relentlessly attacked an offense seemingly desperate to display some semblance of plate discipline, racking up 14 called strikes out of just 58 total pitches. Unlike many of the other finesse-artists the Sox have fallen to this season, the team still managed to lay solid wood on the ball more than they did over the season’s first six weeks. It still wasn’t enough, however, and three earned runs were all she wrote for the Korean lefty.
Ryu’s 58-pitch outing looked like this:
With the bases loaded and the tying run on second base, José Abreu’s ground out to end the seventh struck with an unfortunately high 4.61 LI, tops of the night.
The man who got Toronto out of that jam, David Phelps, finished with a game-high 1.87 pLI.
Danny Jansen’s OK Boomer against Kopech to break the game open in the third inning gave .220 WPA in favor of the Jays.
Jansen and Ross Stripling arrived at their identical .160 WPAs in roundaboutly different ways — the former with the ding-dong you just saw, and the latter through carrying his team through the middle innings with the game still close — but they were both good for the best of the game.
Hardest Hit: It took nine trips to the plate, but the White Sox finally got got by Vlad Guerrero Jr., this time to the tune of a game-high 111 mph in the eighth inning.
Weakest Contact: Not only did he have the big one, Danny Jansen also had the little one, dribbling one at 50 mph for a ground out against José Ruiz later in the game.
Luckiest Hit: Luis Robert’s shift-aided opposite-field single against Stripling in the sixth had just a .160 xBA.
Toughest Out: Alejandro Kirk smoked a first inning line drive at 106 mph for a .590 xBA — fortunately for Michael Kopech, it was straight at AJ Pollock.
Longest Hit: Guerrero took the exit velo crown, but the distance title belongs to Abreu, whose third-inning blast traveled a gargantuan 451 feet.
Magic Number: 1,096
1,096 days after the White Sox fell two games below .500 to kick off June 2019, the White Sox fell two games below .500 to kick off June 2022. As a reminder, no playoff series were won over the course of these 1,096 days.
Hard-hit is any ball off the bat at 95 mph or more
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 MVP of tonight’s loss?
This poll is closed
José Abreu (2-for-4, HR, R, 2 RBI)
AJ Pollock (2-for-4, HR, R, RBI)
Kyle Crick (2 IP, 0 R, H, BB, 3 SO)
Who was tonight’s Cold Cat?
This poll is closed
Michael Kopech (3 IP, 5 R, 6 H, 4 BB, 4 SO)
Leury García (0-for-4, 3 LOB)
Adam Engel (0-for-3, 2 SO)