White Sox

What to expect from Humber tonight

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What to expect from Humber tonight

The first perfect game ever thrown was on June 12, 1880, by Lee Richmond of the long-defunct Worcester Ruby Legs. To further illustrate the point that the game was thrown in 1880, it was umpired by a man named Foghorn.

We don't have any game-by-game data for Richmond, but we do know 1880 was the best year of his career -- he went 32-32 with a 2.15 ERA in 590 innings.

Just five days after Richmond threw his perfecto, Hall of Famer Monte Ward didn't allow any Buffalo Bisons to reach base in the second-ever perfect game. He turned in an outstanding season that year as well, going 39-24 with a 1.74 ERA in 595 innings pitched.

Baseball-Reference doesn't have game-by-game data for Cy Young or Addie Joss, both of whom threw perfect games in the early 1900s. Both Hall of Fame hurlers were outstanding in their perfect game years, though, with Young leading the league in shutouts in 1904 and Joss leading the league in ERA in 1908.

Finally, we have game-by-game data for every perfect game-throwing pitcher from Charlie Robertson on. So here's how each pitcher fared in their next start after being perfect:

Charlie Robertson (1922): 6 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K vs. Cleveland

Future Hall of Fame inductee Tris Speaker picked up two hits, as did Indians starter Allan Sothoron as Robertson was knocked around in a 6-3 loss to the Tribe. Robertson also balked in the game.

Don Larsen (1957): 1.1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 0 K vs. Boston

Because Larsen's perfect game came in the World Series, he didn't start another game for over six months before the Red Sox torched him on April 20, 1957. Larsen got through the first inning unscathed after allowing the first two men to reach, but his second inning went as follows: single, single, double, flyout, double. He was replaced by Bob Turley, who wound up walking Jimmy Piersall with the bases loaded to charge the fourth run to Larsen.

Jim Bunning (1964): 7 IP, 11 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 5 K vs. St. Louis

A Bunning-Bob Gibson duel didn't exactly live up to what probably was a lot of hype, as Bunning was far from perfect while Gibson allowed four runs with three walks and two home runs (one to Dick Allen) in eight innings. Bunning immediately lost his chance at repeating his perfect game when Curt Flood doubled to lead off the bottom of the first.

Sandy Koufax (1965): 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K vs. Chicago

Five days after tossing his perfect game against the Cubs in Los Angeles, Koufax couldn't repeat the same success at Wrigley Field. He didn't allow a run through the first five innings, but he served up a two-run home run to Billy Williams in the sixth that was the difference in a 2-1 loss to the North Siders.

Catfish Hunter (1968): 6 IP, 8 H, 8 ER, 5 BB, 4 K vs. Minnesota

The eight runs and four homers allowed were both season-highs for Hunter, who turned in his worst start of the season in Minneapolis only six days after throwing a perfect game against the Twins in Oakland. Minnesota plated five in the first, with Rod Carew, Tony Oliva and Rich Rollins all going deep in the frame.

Len Barker (1981): 9 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 10 K vs. Seattle

Finally, we reach a really good start following a perfect game. But Barker took the loss, as an RBI double off the bat of Wimpy in the top of the fourth put the Mariners ahead for good.

Mike Witt (1985): 7.2 IP, 10 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K vs. Minnesota

Witt's perfect game was his last start of 1984, and his 1985 began by allowing a leadoff single to Kirby Puckett. He wound up turning in a solid 1985 season, though, before a career year in 1986.

Tom Browning (1988): 8 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K vs. San Francisco

Browning dueled with Rick Reuschel through the first five innings before giving up an RBI sacrifice fly to Will Clark in the sixth. Barry Larkin countered with a solo home run in the bottom half of the inning, and Browning earned the victory when Ken Griffey put the Reds ahead in the eighth.

Dennis Martinez (1991): 7 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K vs. Philadelphia

El Presidente and the Expos were terrorized by light-hitting shortstop Dickie Thon, who hit a go-ahead home run in the top of the seventh. John Kruk, Ivan Calderon and Darren Daulton also combined to form the most 1991 grouping of players with RBIs ever off Martinez.

Kenny Rogers (1994): 5.1 IP, 5 H, 5 R (4 ER), 3 BB, 2 K vs. the White Sox

Norberto Martin led off the game with a single and later scored on a Julio Franco flyout, and in the fourth, Fraco walked to set up a two-run blast off the bat of Robin Ventura. Darrin Jackson and Lance Johnson knocked Rogers out in the sixth with back-to-back RBI singles. He would make only one more start (another bad one) before the strike hit in August.

David Wells (1998): 7 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K vs. Boston

By the time Mo Vaughn and John Valentin homered in the fourth inning, Wells had a comfortable 8-0 cushion thanks to the Yankees' blasting of Derek Lowe and John Wasdin.

David Cone (1999): 4 IP, 6 H, 6 R (2 ER), 4 BB, 7 K vs. Cleveland

Following up a perfect game with the Indians' fearsome lineup of the late 90's was no easy task, and Cone quickly ran into trouble in the second, serving up a two-run homer to Russell Branyan. He was otherwise shaky, managing to navigate the third inning without allowing a run despite a walk, single and wild pitch. But things came crashing down in the fourth, as with two outs and Branyan on first Kenny Lofton singled, Omar Vizquel reached on a Chuck Knoblauch error and Robbie Alomar belted a grand slam.

Randy Johnson (2004): 7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K vs. Florida

After retiring the first six batters he faced, Johnson gave up a run in the third when Luis Castillo singled home Abraham Nunez. But other than that and a sixth-inning homer to Jeff Conine, Johnson was fine.

Mark Buehrle (2009): 6.1 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 3 K vs. Minnesota

While the final line doesn't reflect it, no start following a perfect game has been as spectacular as Buehrle's on July 28, 2009. He retired the first 17 batters he faced, setting an MLB record in the process, before just barely missing low on a 3-2 offering to Alexi Casilla. Then Metrodome things started to happen, and before you knew it, Minnesota had a 2-0 lead that quickly ballooned to 5-0 in the seventh.

Dallas Braden (2010): 8 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 K vs. Los Angeles (AL)

Kendrys Morales hit an RBI single in the sixth and Hideki Matsui followed that with a three-run homer to put a damper on Braden's follow-up outing. His promising career has since been derailed by injuries, although at 28 there's still time for a comeback.

Roy Halladay (2010): 7 IP, 10 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K vs. San Diego

It's funny to say this wasn't one of Halladay's best starts of the season, because it was pretty good in a vacuum. But for Halladay, who went on to win the Cy Young in 2010, it ranked as his 20th-best start of the season as rated by game score.

Average performance: 6 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 4 K

White Sox manager Rick Renteria will spend another night in Minnesota after being released from hospital

White Sox manager Rick Renteria will spend another night in Minnesota after being released from hospital

Rick Renteria will not manage the White Sox in Tuesday night's game against the Minnesota Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field. He'll spend one more night in Minnesota after he was taken to the hospital ahead of Monday night's game.

 

Renteria had what the White Sox described as "an episode of lightheadedness" and was released from the hospital Tuesday afternoon. According to the team, he will return to Chicago on Wednesday and undergo further testing at RUSH University Medical Center.

 

 

Bench coach Joe McEwing managed the team in Renteria's place Monday in Minnesota.

 

Renteria's absence comes on an important night for the White Sox rebuild, with top-ranked pitching prospect Michael Kopech making his major league debut on the South Side.

The benefits of Michael Kopech's midseason struggles — and his spectacular turnaround

The benefits of Michael Kopech's midseason struggles — and his spectacular turnaround

In the seven starts prior to the announcement that Michael Kopech would be making his major league debut Tuesday night, the White Sox top-ranked pitching prospect pitched as well as he had since joining the organization ahead of the 2017 campaign. It’s what helped the White Sox make the decision that Kopech was ready for the major leagues.

But that hasn’t been the case all season.

Kopech went through some pronounced midseason struggles, with his ERA and walk numbers going up at a steady pace. It was a weird sight for onlookers who saw him dominate in 2017 and believed he was going to breeze through Triple-A and reach the South Side in no time.

The numbers he put up in his final seven starts at Triple-A Charlotte are well known to everyone at this point: a 1.84 ERA with 59 strikeouts and just four walks in 44 innings. But in the 12 starts that came before, Kopech’s line looked like this: a 5.69 ERA with 76 strikeouts and 47 walks in 55.1 innings. He issued at least four walks in nine of those starts, including an eight-walk outing on June 14.

But despite the expected fretting among the fan base and other observers over what might have been “wrong” with the organization’s No. 1 pitching prospect, the fact that Kopech went through those struggles and turned things around in such spectacular fashion was a beneficial thing in the eyes of the White Sox.

“I think it well serve him extremely well over the long term,” general manager Rick Hahn said during a conference call Monday. “We know how difficult it is to succeed at the highest level. Even your most well-equipped prospect is going to go through difficulties over the course of certainly the early part of their career as the league adjusts to what the player presents. Having previously had to search for answers and pull themselves back up off the floor and find different ways to succeed are tools that serve these players extremely well over the course of their big league career.

“Michael did have some struggles. After a very good spring and then some struggles come the early months of the summer, the way he’s rebounded after the All-Star break down there in Charlotte and actually taken it to a higher level, achieved at a level that he had not seen over the course of his minor league career, is a testament to his coping abilities, his ability to adjust, his ability to block out the noise or any frustration and focus on the matter at hand, make adjustments and take his performance to a higher level.”

As everyone has seen with the likes of Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, there are plenty of expected growing pains that take place at the major league level. Those struggles are obviously more difficult to pull oneself out of when the competition is the best in the world as opposed to what it is in the minor leagues.

While Kopech’s righting of the ship doesn’t guarantee his major league growing pains will be minimal, it’s taught him a valuable lesson that the White Sox believe will help him immensely now that he’s reached the big league stage.

How’d he do it? What was the key to his success? How did he flip the switch after a three-inning, four-run, four-walk outing on July 5? What’s he been doing so right these last seven starts that he wasn’t over those two months in the middle of the season?

Kopech will likely field those questions after he makes his first major league starts Tuesday against the Minnesota Twins. Until then, here’s the man who held the title of “Michael Kopech’s pitching coach” prior to the now-incumbent Don Cooper.

“There’s a lot of things, but I guess the best thing, the way to put it, he’s more under control,” Charlotte pitching coach Steve McCatty said on a conference call Monday. “We talk about it all the time: Because you touch 100 mph, it doesn’t mean you have to throw every pitch 100 mph. You don’t have to always work at maximum velocity throwing it as hard as you can.

“We just work on finding something that’s a little bit less. Mechanics that were able to repeat consistently. And if we have to dial it up a little bit, which is a pretty nice thing to sit at 96, 97 and you can dial it up to 100, he has been able to do that here. He’s repeating his mechanics. And he’s locating pitches. Locating his fastball, his curveball that he’s had this year. Slider, and plus the changeup that he’s been throwing. He’s made a lot of progress.”

Kopech’s promotion was always going to be an exciting moment for the White Sox. The guy has been rated among baseball’s best prospects since they acquired him. In dealing away Chris Sale, they got another flamethrower with a very high ceiling.

But the progress Kopech has made in dealing with those midseason struggles and overcoming them makes things even more exciting. It's another milestone in Kopech’s development. It makes that high ceiling look a little closer.

“He’s been on a considerable roll,” Hahn said. “I think you’ll see a slightly different pitcher from the one many of you saw in Glendale. His command has improved, his breaking ball has become much sharper, is now a swing-and-miss pitch. Both Michael and Steve McCatty as well as other pitching instructors deserve a world of credit for the advancements Michael has made in a short time.

“With the normal precaution that he’s just one guy, and at that a very young man who is going to continue to develop before our eyes here in the coming weeks and months and years, we are certainly very excited to see Michael challenged by the next level here in the coming weeks.