OK, OK, we all know about the White Sox being zip for the road trip, about losing six in a row, about being one game out of the cellar in by far the worst division in the big leagues, about how the whole idea of trying to smite a ball with a stick has become mystifying and the concept of throwing said ball so it isn’t smote is even more perplexing, but, what the heck, new day, new game, new opportunity, right?
Let’s hope so.
Those hopes rest largely on the arm of Michael Kopech, he of the 6.97 ERA Kopechs. Kopech has had one good outing this year, one mediocre one and two miserable ones. His last start fell in the miserable category, giving up five runs in five innings in a loss to the Rays. Losing to the Rays isn’t exactly unusual, but Kopech walked four and struck out none, which isn’t a healthy sign, no matter how fast the fastball is getting chucked.
The mound opponent will be Yusei Kikuchi , the sort of journeyman lefty the White Sox used to feast on, but this year, who knows? Kikuchi is off to a good start, with a 3-0 record and 3.80 ERA, and the ERA was swollen by one bad outing. Last two times out, he held the Rays and Yankees each to just four hits and one run over six innings. so he’s on a roll.
Kikuchi has a mid-90s four-seamer, a changeup, and a nasty curve. He’ll be throwing those to a Sox lineup with eight right-handed batters, none of whom has faced him much.
Luis Robert Jr., who is 3-for-his-last-44, moves to the power third slot, because, why not? Romy González will be in right, so he has a chance with an 0-fer to take his entire .103/.103/.103 slash line down to double figures, as he continues to make us yearn for the good ol’ days of Leury García.
Romy roaming right will also provide the opportunity to see if Luis dashes over to steal a routine fly from in front of him, or if it’s only Eloy Jiménez he wants to embarrass.
The Blue Jays lineup is, of course, nasty. The only batter who has faced Kopech more than three times is Whit Merrifield, who has gone 2-for-12, but with a homer. The weakest links average-wise are George Springer, who isn’t exactly an easy out, and Danny Jansen, who hit two dingers last night.
First pitch is scheduled for 12:07 p.m. Central. It’s 45 degrees in Toronto, but a lot warmer under the Rogers Centre dome. Usual broadcast suspects, if you count Gordon Beckham as usual.