Michael Kopech was dazzling this evening! His fastball was as lively as ever, and Kopech induced a total of 22 swings-and-misses (17 on the fastball alone); the Tigers were not reading him at all. In the second and fifth innings, Kopech struck out the side. In total, Michael reached a new career-high strikeouts total, at 11.
On top of his strikeout dominance, Kopech allowed zero hits through six innings of work. In a different season, Michael stays in the game to attempt to complete his no-hitter. However, coming off of Tommy John surgery, his first full season as a starter, and no off-days until the end of the month, Tony La Russa did not allow Michael to go out for the seventh inning at 85 pitches.
I wonder what a single-digit pitch count in the seventh inning could have forced, with the potential to wrap up the final two innings. The stuff Michael has, however, will continue to aid him throughout his career, and there will be more opportunities for a no-hitter. But I wish the circumstances were a bit different in this stretch, to allow him the chance to go out on his own — or better yet, finish the job.
Of course, as Michael was dominating on the mound, the White Sox offense could not do anything against lefty Daniel Norris, who the Chicago Cubs had designated for assignment earlier this season. In 4 2⁄3 innings of work, Norris allowed four hits and two walks while only striking out one.
There was also a little funny business on the base paths. In attempt to steal second base in the sixth, Luis Robert left with an injury.
Infielders should be protected but I hate that they are allowed to do this. pic.twitter.com/dMLnpT8gJU— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) August 13, 2022
Luis Robert left the game with a sprained left wrist. X-rays were negative and he is day-to-day.— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) August 13, 2022
Luckily, Luis Robert’s X-rays were negative, and I’d have to agree with Codify.
It took until the seventh inning for the White Sox to rally — and to actually produce with the bases loaded. Yoán Moncada and Josh Harrison singled, and AJ Pollock walked to load the bases with two outs. Andrew Vaughn, who has had a rather nice sophomore year, smacked a ball oppo for a two-RBI single and a 2-0 lead.
The seventh inning sparked the Good Guys in the eighth. Eloy Jiménez and Yasmani Grandal walked to open up the the bottom of frame. What happened next? The Sox remembered they don’t score in this kind of situation.
Rare pessimism aside, it’s very refreshing to see the pitching (starters and relievers) dominate the way they did today, all catalyzed by a strong Kopech quality start. The offense did what they needed to do in order to secure the win, but they are capable of so much more — something we have stated all season long.
With a 2-0 lead in the ninth, Liam Hendriks locked down his 24th save of the year, and the Good Guys improve to 57-56. They remain 3 1⁄2 games behind first-place Cleveland, who decimated Toronto tonight.
The Chicago White Sox will be back at it tomorrow night at 6:10 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Chicago. Lucas Giolito (8-6, 4.91 ERA, 4.38 xERA, 4.28 FIP) will square off against Matt Manning (0-0, 2.25 ERA, 3.92 xERA, 4.27 FIP).