Last week was pretty ugly and not in the “Winning Ugly” sort of way. The White Sox made all kinds of headlines, and none were for playing fantastic baseball. It isn’t enjoyable right now being a South Side fan for oh so many reasons, so let me count thy ways. First, our owner sucks. Second, we have no direction. You know what? On second thought, I don’t think I will. For one, it would take too long, and two, I don’t need to increase my blood pressure. After all, it’s just Monday, and there’s still a long week ahead. So, play ball!
Michael Kopech heads to the mound tonight for his 25th start. It’s been a rough year for him, with control issues and inconsistency plaguing the righthander. When he’s been great, he’s been amazing; when he’s been bad, he’s been terrible. There just hasn’t been a whole lot of in-between for him. The 27-year-old has actually improved the velocity, spin, and movement on his fastball, but his slider has been the Achilles heel. Opponents are batting .262 off of it, and it has a -5 run value.
Additionally, his walks are way up, with a 6.00 BB/9 compared to 4.30 in 2022, not to mention he has hit 10 batters. Combine the struggles with the slider and all the free passes, and you have quite a mess. There’s no doubt Kopech has what it takes to be a good, if not even a great, starter. He just needs to find a way to be more consistent and control his stuff. Hopefully, tonight, he can build off of his solid start in his last outing before being pulled due to cramping. The Orioles can expect to see a four-pitch mix from Kopech: 4-seam fastball (62.3%), slider (26.2%), changeup (7.6%), and curveball (3.9%).
Opposite Kopech, the Baltimore Orioles will send Grayson Rodriguez to the bump. The 23-year-old is in his first professional season and has made 17 starts for the O’s. The rookie has struggled a bit overall, going 3-3 with a 5.38 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP in 87 innings. However, he’s gained some momentum over his last seven starts (1-1 with a 3.24 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP). When Baltimore was in Chicago for the series in April, Rodriguez faced the Good Guys, where he surrendered four runs on six hits, including two home runs over five innings. He also walked two and struck out eight and earned a no-decision. Gavin Sheets was the most successful batter, going 2-for-3 with a round-tripper. The righty relies on five pitches: 4-seam fastball (47/1%), changeup (22.3%), slider (16.3%), cutter (7.6%), and curveball (6.7%).
Here is the starting lineup for the White Sox:
Here is the starting lineup for the Orioles:
Monday baseball coming your way. pic.twitter.com/R4A3pmejOp— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) August 28, 2023
The game is at 6:05 p.m. CST. Watch on NBCSCHI and listen in at ESPN-AM 1000.