Something is wrong with Michael Kopech. After looking like a Cy Young finalist for the White Sox in April and May, Kopech took a step back in June. Over the first two months of the season he had a 1.29 ERA and limited opponents to a .388 OPS. In June those numbers jumped to 5.19 and .744. He went from no home runs allowed in his first eight starts, to five home runs allowed in his next six. With the calendar turning to July, there was a chance for Kopech to turn the page himself. Instead he put together his worst start of the season.
One could get into the weeds trying to break down what went wrong on Tuesday night, but Kopech kept it pretty simple after the game.
“Made some bad pitches out of the heart of the plate, and they hit them hard,” Kopech said.
Kopech tied a career-high (or career-low) by surrendering four home runs. The Twins hit five balls over 100 mph off him. Max Kepler ripped a ball 111.1 mph to start the fifth inning. That’s the hardest-hit ball Kopech has ever given up in his career, and all those hits are well above his 89.9 average exit velocity heading into Tuesday’s game. It’s a troubling development as Kopech’s skid continues, but the White Sox say they’ve picked up on a couple of Kopech’s issues, and they’re confident they can get him back on track.
“Ethan (Katz)’s talking about it, they’re working on getting them fixed,” Tony La Russa said.”
Beyond that, La Russa wouldn’t delve into the specifics of Kopech’s woes.
“That wouldn’t be very smart to get into it, but it’s all fixable.”
Another factor in Kopech’s recent struggles is the knee injury he sustained on June 12. The injury didn’t require an IL stint, but Kopech did have fluid removed from his knee, and he admitted he’s had to make a slight adjustment in his game since then. But both Kopech and La Russa wouldn’t use the knee as an excuse for his poor performance on Tuesday.
“That doesn't take away from the fact that I need to be sharp on my fifth day,” Kopech said. “I feel good.”