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Talented prospect Kopech hits first hurdle

September 5, 2018

CHICAGO -- Michael Kopech lasted 3 1/3 innings during the Tigers' 10-2 victory over the White Sox on Wednesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field. And yes, there was rain again, as Kopech made it a perfect 3-for-3 in terms of delayed games within his home starts.But Kopech actually returned to

CHICAGO -- Michael Kopech lasted 3 1/3 innings during the Tigers' 10-2 victory over the White Sox on Wednesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field. And yes, there was rain again, as Kopech made it a perfect 3-for-3 in terms of delayed games within his home starts.
But Kopech actually returned to the mound following the 28-minute delay in the third inning. The No. 2 White Sox prospect per MLB Pipeline simply didn't have his best stuff, or close to his best command.
"I missed a lot of spots and got taken advantage of, which is going to happen when I'm not throwing the way I need to," said Kopech, who threw 55 of his 82 pitches for strikes. "I was pitching like I was throwing 100 [mph], and I was throwing 93-94.
"Can't miss spots with that kind of velocity, and aside from that, the stuff I had tonight as a whole wasn't great. So I got taken advantage of. I felt fine. I don't think that [rain delay] really had anything to do with it. I just didn't pitch well. That's the gist of it. I've got to get deep into the game and take a load off the bullpen."
Kopech yielded seven runs on nine hits. He struck out six and walked just one, but also allowed the first four home runs of his big league career. Detroit marked the first team he has faced twice, with Kopech picking up his first career victory on Aug. 26 at Comerica Park, and his first career loss Wednesday.
"Today, there was more of a 'hit the fastball' kind of approach," Kopech said. "I feel like that's a lot of people's approach against me in general. Like I said, when I don't have the fastball that I have a lot of the time, and they're coming out hunting fastballs, it's going to be hit."
"[Kopech] felt like he wasn't commanding or executing. Just one of those days," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "Gave up a couple of bombs, a couple of homers. Pitches that were elevated. He felt like he wasn't commanding today."
Jeimer Candelario opened the game with a prodigious clout to right that traveled 433 feet per Statcast™. And the Tigers knocked out three homers in the fourth among their seven hits. Michael Mahtook, Ronny Rodriguez and JaCoby Jones went deep, with Rodriguez and Jones launching back-to-back shots.
Three of Detroit's homers came off Kopech's four-seam fastball, while the fourth came via a poorly located slider, although Kopech was happy with his overall usage of the slider. He also struck out three with the four-seamer, two with a slider and one with a changeup.
"Going into my next start, I'll make sure to get the work in I need to and try to evaluate myself properly," Kopech said. "Just better preparation, and I need to get out there and take care of my stuff, and like I said, take a load off the bullpen, help the team win."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Ruiz makes his debut:Jose Ruiz, a converted catcher whose contract was purchased Tuesday from Double-A Birmingham, made his Major League debut in the loss. The right-hander touched 97.7 mph during his 1 2/3 scoreless innings, struck out two and walked one.

HE SAID IT
"You are not going to always be as sharp every single outing. [Kopech] tried to work through it. Today was one of those days. I told him, 'Hey there are a lot of better days ahead of you, so I wouldn't worry about this one.'"-- Renteria
UP NEXT
Left-hander Carlos Rodon (6-4, 2.89 ERA) is scheduled to make his 16th start of the season, eighth at home and second vs. the Angels in the series opener Friday night at Guaranteed Rate Field. Felix Pena (1-4, 4.19) gets the start for the Angels. Rodon's 2.19 ERA since July 5 is the lowest in the American League and seventh-lowest in MLB behind Trevor Williams (1.42), Jacob deGrom (1.45), Aaron Nola (1.92), Zack Wheeler (1.93), Dereck Rodriguez (1.95) and Clayton Kershaw (1.98). First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. CT.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.