White Sox

White Sox: Todd Frazier breaks out after enjoying Indians celebration

White Sox: Todd Frazier breaks out after enjoying Indians celebration

CLEVELAND — Todd Frazier enjoyed the sights and sounds of Cleveland's pregame Opening Day festivities on Tuesday afternoon. But he probably relished the ones later produced by his bat a little bit more.

The White Sox third baseman said before the Indians celebrated their 2016 pennant that he felt like his offense wasn't too far off despite a slow start. After singling once and walking four times in his first 21 plate appearances, Frazier doubled and homered in his first two trips on Tuesday. The effort wasn't enough for the White Sox, who fell 2-1 to Cleveland at Progressive Field. Frazier finished 2-for-4.

"You hit the ball hard it's going to find the hole eventually," Frazier said. "Got two pitches to hit, worked the count in the second one and knew he had to throw a strike and squared it up. Tough wind today. When you square it up, it's going to be unlucky sometimes, but most of the time you're going to something out of it."

Frazier has had his share of bad luck mixed with a bunch of pop outs early in the season. He entered Tuesday 1-for-17 with no extra-base hits and no RBIs. But Frazier said he wasn't overly concerned in part because he had walked four times and struck out only twice. 

He also figured that four of the balls he'd put in play — all with at least a 42 percent of becoming a hit (three were 61 percent or higher), according to Baseball Savant — would eventually start to go for hits.

They did almost immediately. Frazier did his best to be a party pooper on Cleveland's big day as he turned around a 96-mph Carlos Carrasco fastball and ripped it past Indians third baseman Yandy Diaz for a one-out double in the second inning. Frazier then led off the fifth with a 390-foot, line-drive homer to tie the score at 1. 

The production — the only for the White Sox all game — is a byproduct of how Frazier said he's felt at the plate. 

"I'm seeing a lot of pitches," Frazier said. "You have to take some plusses off of what I've been doing. I'm not striking out that much.

"Sample size, but I'm squaring the ball so not really. It's frustrating but at the same time I feel pretty good."

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Frazier couldn't help but to enjoy the Indians' festivities as they celebrated their first AL pennant since 1997. Jim Thome, Jim Brown and Austin Carr threw out the first pitch, players received their AL champions rings and two F-16s did a fly over all before first pitch.

Francisco Lindor then kept the party going with a first-inning solo homer off James Shields. A festive day ended when Michael Brantley doubled in Lindor with two outs in the 10th.

"You want to play in an atmosphere like that every day," Frazier said. "Couple of intense outs there. Everyone is in the game. It was a lot of fun to play in. Not fun coming out with the outcome.

"You want that for yourself too, for your team. You see the glories of winning and it's pretty cool. To sit there on the other side and say it's not exciting to watch, it's a travesty to say that because everybody dreams of doing that. 

"If you don't get hyped for that you're not living."

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Michael Kopech prepares for The Show

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Michael Kopech prepares for The Show

Pete McMurray, David Haugh and Ben Finfer join David Kaplan on the panel and discuss the long-awaited arrival of Michael Kopech for the White Sox, Yu Darvish's short rehab start and Mitch Trubisky's second preseason game.

Plus, they discuss new NFL rules and when Eloy Jimenez could get his call up.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Chris Getz on Michael Kopech: 'He’s got no interest in being second best'

Chris Getz on Michael Kopech: 'He’s got no interest in being second best'

With his MLB debut a day away, the Michael Kopech hype train is rolling full steam ahead.

Chris Getz, the White Sox farm director, did nothing to really slow that train down. Getz was interviewed during the NBC Sports Chicago broadcast and it was all about the pitching prospect and his upcoming debut.

“His stuff is unique,” Getz said. “It’s front-line repertoire, there’s no question. But he’s got such a competitive mindset. He’s got no interest in being second best. He’s a great teammate. He’s a great person. He’s everything you ask for in a guy to be on a team to compete for championships.”

Getz said Kopech has become more confident with his curveball in his last six or seven starts. The “six or seven starts” timeframe is something both general manager Rick Hahn and Charlotte Knights pitching coach Steve McCatty said verbatim in other interviews on Monday. Apparently they saw what they wanted to in terms of Kopech’s development.

Kopech had a 1.84 ERA with 59 strikeouts and four walks in 44 innings in his last seven starts with the Knights. He also didn’t walk any batters in his last three starts over 20 innings.

“He’s got a lot of momentum going right now,” Getz said. “He’s in a very good position for success. He’s right where you want a player to be when we graduate them to the major leagues.”

McCatty, when talking about Kopech on ESPN 1000 with Fred Huebner, said Kopech’s fastball, slider and curveball are all plus pitches.

McCatty also has some experience with big time prospects coming up to the majors. He was the Nationals pitching coach when Stephen Strasburg made his major league debut in 2010. He had some advice for Kopech for his White Sox debut.

“I told him make sure you’re not throwing 102 in the first inning,” McCatty said with a laugh. “He’s gonna be exciting. He’s a specially talented kid. There’s no question about it.”

In Getz’s in-game interview with Jason Benetti and Steve Stone, Benetti asked about Kopech’s upside. Getz didn’t temper expectations in his response.

“To be a front end guy,” Getz said. “He’s got all the ingredients that all the best pitchers have. Michael, he’s going to be himself. He’s got a great personality. He’s got great stuff on the mound. He’s just going to be a guy that’s got a chance to be in the major leagues for a long time at the front end of a major league staff. In terms of throwing comparisons out there, there’s no need to do that. He’s going to be himself and he’s going to be a good one.”