The last time Michael Kopech took the mound for Sunday Night Baseball (May 22), there was a bit of parental magic in the air. Kopech had just welcomed his newborn son, and the struggling White Sox were in the Bronx to take on the white-hot New York Yankees. Harnessing the calm confidence of any good father who finds himself in a high-pressure situation, Kopech stepped up — and the Yankees sat down — 17 times in a row until a two-out double in the sixth inning broke up the perfecto. Kopech’s dominant performance led the White Sox to a 5-0 victory over a team they really had no business beating.
With today being Father’s Day, will Kopech be able to recapture his paternal Sunday Night Baseball glory against the annoyingly talented Houston Astros? The South Siders hope so, especially after Kopech’s last start against the Texas Rangers didn’t go so well. He threw a total of 13 pitches that afternoon before he was forced to leave with right knee discomfort, slamming the ball down on the ground like he was in a Lonely Island video. The White Sox training staff says that Kopech’s all clear for tonight’s game, and if I’ve learned anything this season, it is to trust the expertise of the White Sox training staff in keeping guys off the injured list. (Man, it was hard to write that with a straight face.)
One look at tonight’s lineup card will tell you just how great a job the training staff has been doing. Danny Mendick gets the leadoff spot, replacing Tim Anderson (groin, although Tony La Russa says TA will be back and leading off tomorrow night against the Blue Jays). Father-to-be Jake Burger takes over the hot corner for Yoán Moncada (hamstring). Reese McGuire is behind the plate for Yasmani Grandal (back), and Adam Haseley was recalled from Charlotte to replace Matt Foster, who is on bereavement leave. (As fellow SSS writer Adrian Serrano pointed out, it’s “very Soxish to have two infielders day-to-day taking up roster spots and then calling up an outfielder.”) Hey, at least all the moving pieces have allowed La Russa to maintain his Ironman streak of unique lineups.
The trashcan bangers line ‘em up like this:
Will the White Sox be able to steal a series win in Houston, or will they reveal themselves to be as bad and groan-inducing as a horrible “dad joke?” The entire country will learn the answer as this nationally-televised game begins at 6:08 p.m. CT. You can watch the game on ESPN or hear Len and DJ’s call on ESPN 1000 AM.
Let’s go, boys. Please don’t embarrass me.