One night after crushing the ball with nothing to show for it due to some impressive Orioles defense, the White Sox offense once again fell flat. On Friday, it was because they couldn’t get anything going, despite a pitching matchup that looked mouth-watering on paper. Meanwhile, Michael Kopech was wild, and let the Orioles run and run and run on the basepaths. The result, a 4-1 loss that wasn’t particularly competitive as the White Sox fell three games below .500.
ORIOLES TAKE FLIGHT
The Orioles obviously saw something in the scouting report which suggested that they could snag free bases off of Michael Kopech, because they ran early and often on Friday night. The biggest terrors were Richie Martin and Jorge Mateo, who each had two stolen bases. It seemed that Kopech was content to focus on the batters, rather than the baserunners, because on one occasion Martin made it nearly halfway between second and third without Kopech noticing. The aggressive baserunning directly led to two of the Orioles’ three runs, as well. At the outset of the game, Cedric Mullins got to second, which allowed him to advance to third on Trey Mancini’s following groundout. A few pitches later, Kopech threw a ball to the backstop, and Mullins trotted home. In the second inning, Mateo stole second after being hit by a pitch. That put him in position to score on Martin’s single one batter later.
MICHAEL KOPECH UNDONE BY OWN MISTAKES
Kopech didn’t leave any pitches over the heart of the plate to be crushed for home runs on Friday. In fact, he wasn’t hit very hard at all, and gave up only two singles and a double in six innings. Still, he was his own worst enemy as the Orioles jumped out to an early lead. Kopech was wild and only threw 53.8% of his pitches for strikes, which is well below his 61.8% average coming into Friday’s game. That led to four walks and one hit-by-pitch. We’ve already gone over the wild pitch that plated a run. But the mistake that will hurt the most, however, is the balk Kopech committed with Adley Rutschman on third base. That allowed Rutschman to come home for free, and if he hadn’t the run wouldn’t have scored, since there were no other plays that would’ve plated a run afterwards.
WHITE SOX BATS SILENCED
On paper, Friday night looked like an opportunity for fans to see fireworks both during and after the game. The White Sox were coming off a loss in which they smoked the ball to the warning track several times, and were set to face starter Austin Voth, who entered the game with a 8.39 ERA and 2.027 WHIP. But the Sox hardly mustered any offense off of him, scoring one run on just one hit. No matter, the White Sox had another chance against reliever Bryan Baker, who came in with a 5.60 ERA and a 1.537 WHIP. Except the Sox were stymied again and went four-up and four-down against Baker. In the end, the White Sox only managed one hit and three total baserunners on Friday. Nobody reached base after the third inning.