The big question coming into today’s game against the Mets was whether Michael Kopech could find the strike zone (well, next-biggest to who’d be traded by game time, which turned out to be no one). Mostly, he did, and the Mets couldn’t solve his fastball at all.
Kopech only threw a little more than half his pitches for strikes — 49 of 89 — but that was a whole lot better than his disastrous outing in Atlanta, and more than enough to stymie the New Yorkers. Instead of less than one inning, Kopech lasted 5 2⁄3. And while he walked four, he only gave up two hits, both to former Sox catcher Omar Narváez, the second a solo homer that was the only run on Kopech’s tab.
Meanwhile, Sox hitters greeted former White Sox star José Quintana, making his first start of the season coming back from a rib injury, rather rudely. With one out in the first, Tim Anderson smashed a line single, and then Luis Robert Jr. had one of the strangest hits you’ll ever see. Watch closely:
Swing so nice, he hit it twice pic.twitter.com/mXq2gJNYd7— White Sox Talk (@NBCSWhiteSox) July 20, 2023
Who knows? Maybe since hitting the ball twice worked so well, it will catch on.
Eloy Jiménez followed with a bloop single for a 1-0 lead, one of two hits in his return from a brief injury break. The Sox got a second run in the second on a Zach Remillard double (one of his two hits), an Oscar Colás productive grounder, and Elvis Andrus sac fly.
That was it for scoring off of Quintana, but the lead held up thanks to another Tim Anderson audition piece on a 109.4 mph shot.
TA had another nice play and two solid hits, so we can hope GMs of the Dodgers and other possible trade partners were watching.
Buck Showalter pulled Q after five innings and just 77 pitches, no doubt because it was his first appearance of 2023. That turned out to be a big mistake. Drew Smith, with absolutely horrendous defense that included Pete Alonso booting a routine Robert grounder and Jeff McNeil wandering around right field like he’d never been there before, to give Yasmani Grandal a two-run double and the 34-year old Andrus his first triple since 2021.
Aaron Bummer, Gregory Santos and Kendall Graveman held the Mets to one run over 3 1⁄3 innings to close out a 6-2 win and provide a little momentum going to Minnesota.
Of course, unless that momentum leads to 15 more wins in a row, that doesn’t even get the Sox back to .500. A weekend sweep in Minnesota would close the AAAL Central gap to six or seven games, depending on the outcome of the Twins game today, but that would only lead to some Rick Hahn blather about playoff possibilities and invite further failure to make the many, many needed roster changes before the trade deadline.
Who was the White Sox MVP?
This poll is closed
Luis Robert Jr.: 1-for-4, 1 R, .108 WPA
Michael Kopech: 5 2⁄3 IP, 2 H, 5 K, .155 WPA
Eloy Jiménez: 2-for-4, 1 R, .101 WPA
Who was the White Sox Cold Cat?
This poll is closed
Andrew Benintendi: 0-for-5, 1 K, -.046 WPA
Oscar Colás: 0-for-3, 1 K, -.017 WPA
Jake Burger: 0-for-3, 1 K, -.014 WPA
Six Pack of Stats
By Melissa Sage-Bollenbach
Tommy Pham couldn’t provide the bam New York needed to get on the board in the bottom of the third. He earned a game-high 2.47 LI when he grounded into a double play to end the inning.
The bottom of the third was a big-time missed opportunity for the Metropolitans, as Pham had the highest pLI at 1.56.
Omar Narváez’s dinger in the bottom of the fifth led the game with a 12.7% WPA, but it wasn’t enough to win the game.
Michael Kopech pitched like an ace today, and his 15.5% WPA was the cream of the crop.
Francisco Álvarez scalded a 112.9 mph line out to Tim Anderson in the bottom of the ninth.
Immediately after Álvarez’s rocket, Brett Baty tapped a 40.6 mph grounder to Jake Burger.
Yasmani Grandal’s sixth-inning double off of Drew Smith only had a .330 xBA.
Álvarez’s ninth-inning liner had an .800 xBA.
Narváez had the only four-bagger of the game. He launched it 399 feet to right center field.
Magic Number: 1
Narváez’s fifth-inning blast was his first of the season. Of course he hits it off the Sox.