Sunday, July 3, 2022

Michael Kopech Is Having An Absurd Stretch Of Dominance


There were a lot of question marks regarding the White Sox starting rotation entering the season. After losing Carlos Rodon in free agency, Michael Kopech was tasked with taking his place in the starting rotation. Those were some big shoes to fill.

Kopech has passed the test with flying colors. On Sunday night he showed just how good he is during a nationally televised game in the Bronx. The stage does not get much bigger than that.

Kopech was making his first start since May 15th after going on paternity leave. He announced his return with authority, retiring the first 14 batters he faced.

Michaell Kopech allowed three earned runs in the second inning against the Yankees during his previous start on May 15th. All three of those runs were self-inflicted, with the Yankees only recording one hit-off Kopech in the game. If you take away that inning from his season he has only given up three earned runs in 40 innings of work. That adds up to a microscopic 0.68 ERA.

In that May 15th start, he retired the final 13 batters he faced. If you combine his last two starts that adds up to 27 consecutive Yankees retired. Essentially he threw a perfect game over two starts against the Yankees who own the best record in baseball at 29-12.

Kopech retired three more hitters on Sunday to make it 17 consecutive Yankees retired to open Sunday’s contest and 30 in a row before finally allowing a hit to Yankees catcher Rob Brantley.

But when the dust settled Kopech had thrown seven scoreless innings with seven strikeouts and only one hit allowed.

Those seven innings pitched capped off the longest start of his career to date. It was a statement performance. He threw 92 pitches, 65 of which were strikes. Of those 65 strikes, 16 of them were swinging. His fastball topped out at 100.2 mph. His full arsenal of stuff was on display.

He froze Aaron Judge with a 98 mph fastball in the first inning. He then fanned Gleyber Torres with a slider in the second inning. Giancarlo Stanton fell victim to Kopech’s slider in the fifth inning. Marvin Gonzalez also got a front-row seat of Kopech’s slider as he watch it drop in for strike three in the sixth. Judge then swung through a 98 mph fastball. Kopech’s final pitch of the night came with two on and two out. He uncorked another 98 mph fastball to punch out Estevan Florial.

“I hate to sound cocky or anything but it felt like everything was kinda working today,” Kopech told the media after the game. “It’s kinda the first kind this season that’s been the case. It was nice to go out there and feel confident in every pitch I threw.”

After Johnny Cueto’s start in Game 1 of the doubleheader the White Sox made a bit of history. Kopech’s seven-inning shutout marked the first time in franchise history that two starters went 6+ in a doubleheader at Yankee stadium.

In nine starts this season Kopech now has a 1.29 ERA. He has the second-lowest ERA in the MLB. He also owns the third-lowest WHIP in baseball with a 0.86 mark and the lowest opponent batting average at .122.

At the moment he should be a front runner in American League Cy Young conversation.

Chicago SportsNEWS
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