The White Sox take on the Twins this afternoon, and you can catch all the action on Comcast SportsNet. Coverage begins with White Sox Pregame Live at 2:30 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.
Today’s starting pitching matchup: Jose Quintana vs. Kyle Gibson
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Michael Kopech's Tommy John surgery was a success.
The White Sox announced Wednesday that Kopech underwent the procedure Tuesday to address the significant tear in his UCL and that he is on track to return for spring training ahead of the 2020 season.
This was the expected outcome when the team announced Kopech's injury two days after he made his fourth major league start. But the news that day sent a shockwave through the fan base, one of the brightest young stars of the rebuild slated to miss a full season as he recovers from this significant injury.
The White Sox said then that Kopech would likely be ready to go for spring 2020, a season many fans and observers have circled as one where the franchise could shift from rebuilding mode into contention mode. Of course, the delaying of Kopech's first full big league season — and the valuable development that comes with that — throws into question what kind of contributor he can be should the rest of the team be ready to win. Similarly, does the delayed developmental time for Kopech and the host of other prospects who suffered significant injuries this year shift the timeline of the entire rebuilding effort?
Those questions won't be able to be answered until Kopech and the rest get back on the field.
The completed surgery brings with it the same projection from 12 days ago, that Kopech should be ready to go by spring 2020. As we wait for that date, the rebuild will progress without him. What will the puzzle and his place in it look like by then? Just another element of the waiting game on the South Side.
Well, the opening game of this weekend's Crosstown series on the South Side just got a lot more interesting.
The Cubs are juggling their rotation a bit as they head toward the postseason, and in doing so, Jose Quintana is now scheduled to pitch against his former club Friday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field. It will be the first time he's faced the South Siders since last summer's trade that sent him to the other side of town.
Rick Hahn's front office shipped Quintana to the North Side in exchange for a package that included Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease. The trade initially looked like a winner for both teams, with the Cubs in win-now mode and the White Sox in rebuilding mode. It's looking even better for both sides at the moment.
Quintana has been on fire of late, with a 2.10 ERA in his last six starts. Meanwhile, Jimenez and Cease are arguably the two best prospects in the White Sox loaded farm system. Jimenez is ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the game after a big season swinging the bat, and Cease was the organization's best minor league pitcher this season, both guys sparking big expectations for the team's bright future.
While the Cubs have to be confident in Quintana with how well he's pitched of late, he's returning to a ballpark where pitching well didn't always end in wins. He infamously received an unbelievably small amount of run support during his otherwise terrific tenure on the South Side and posted just a 22-27 record in his 84 games (all but two of which were starts) at Guaranteed Rate Field. Of course, the win-loss record doesn't reflect the 3.59 ERA he posted there in a White Sox uniform.
Quintana will almost surely get a nice ovation from White Sox fans, who treated also-traded starting pitcher Chris Sale well in his return to the South Side last season, but this Crosstown series could have a little more meaning than most. The Cubs remain in a tight division battle with the Milwaukee Brewers, meaning the White Sox have an opportunity to play spoiler. And while Quintana won't be trying to strike out Jimenez or battling against Cease, his former club could have an opportunity to pour some rain on the Cubs' late-season parade.