CHICAGO -- When it comes to Michael Kopech's starts at Guaranteed Rate Field, things can only get dryer during the month of September.Kopech, the White Sox No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline, made his second career home start in Friday's 6-1 victory over the Red Sox. And for the second
CHICAGO -- When it comes to Michael Kopech's starts at Guaranteed Rate Field, things can only get dryer during the month of September.
Kopech, the White Sox No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline, made his second career home start in Friday's 6-1 victory over the Red Sox. And for the second time, his mound effort was cut short by rain.
This start had a little extra meaning as Kopech faced the Red Sox, who drafted him 33rd overall in 2014 and then traded him with Yoan Moncada, Luis Alexander Basabe and Victor Diaz to the White Sox for American League Cy Young favorite Chris Sale on Dec. 6, 2016. Kopech pitched three scoreless innings on 36 pitches, striking out one, walking one and hitting Mookie Betts with his first pitch.
But torrential rain forced a delay of 2 hours, 9 minutes, leading Dylan Covey to take the mound when the teams returned to the field at 10:05 p.m. CT. Kopech lasted two innings in his Major League debut Aug. 21 against the Twins before the rains came.
"I'm going to say a little prayer to Mother Nature and see if we can figure things out," said a smiling Kopech, who next pitches Wednesday night at home. "I had no idea. I even checked the weather before my start today because I didn't want it to go like last time. Unfortunately, I guess the weather app wasn't on the same page. It came pretty quick there."
Nerves got the best of Kopech at the outset against his old team, as he threw seven of his first eight pitches out of the zone and walked Andrew Benintendi on four pitches after hitting Betts. But with runners on first and second and J.D. Martinez at the plate, Kopech stepped off the mound and caught Betts trying to steal third. He seemed to find his rhythm after that play.
"I know Mookie's a good baserunner, and I knew he was probably going to be a little antsy out there, especially with me being young and kind of a nervous guy," Kopech said. "I decided to hold a little bit longer and figured it was coming eventually. I heard 'em yell for me, I stepped off and he was a little quicker than I thought. About let him get back."
"He's able to use his stuff," said White Sox manager Rick Renteria of Kopech's early ability to escape jams. "He's commanding, he's executing, hopefully hitting his spots. He's got a lot of life to his fastball, so he's able to do some things."
Even before Kopech went to work Friday, you could count Sale, who is currently on the disabled list, as one of the interested parties in his start. Sale has faced his former White Sox team on two occasions.
"I said a couple of times today: I'm excited to see Kopech pitch," said Sale before Friday's game. "I know he's got a live arm. I heard some stories from the guys over there, and he's pitching against his old team, so it should be fun to watch."
Moncada's homer off Nathan Eovaldi completed a three-run first inning against his old team. It was Moncada's 17th and gave the switch-hitter 55 RBIs. Covey earned the win in relief, hurling 3-plus scoreless innings while striking out three and walking one. For the season, Covey has worked 9-plus scoreless frames against the best team in baseball.
This victory improved the White Sox to 6-2 in their past eight games and 17-11 in their past 28.
"We're all pulling in the same direction, and it's a lot of fun to be a part of right now," said Kopech, who has allowed just one run in 11 big league innings to date. "Since I've been here, we've been a winning team, and hopefully it stays that way for a long time."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Adding on:Matt Davidson turned a close game into a comfortable victory with a three-run home run in the seventh. The 19th homer for Davidson came off Tyler Thornburg and came with two outs on a 2-2 pitch.
Yolmer Sanchez has reached base in a career-high 19 consecutive games.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Ian Hamilton, the No. 16 White Sox prospect per MLB Pipeline, didn't think he would be active until rosters expanded on Saturday. But when his plane landed on Friday, the right-hander got the word to come to the ballpark and be ready to pitch. He threw a perfect ninth inning to close out the victory, needing only six pitches to do it.
"It still hasn't set in yet. Just kind of riding it right now," Hamilton said. "It just happened so fast. I didn't have a chance to think about it. It's still going. It's just crazy. It still hasn't set in."
Hamilton arrived at the ballpark around 5 p.m. CT. He had a chance to relax and stretch out a bit during the long rain delay. Prior to the game, Hamilton had 50 text messages after taking an active roster spot following Xavier Cedeno's trade to Milwaukee. He figured that number doubled postgame.
"Very nice finish for him," Renteria said. "As you can see, he's got some pretty good stuff. It's one of those things where he's under the lights at the Major League level. Looks like he was trusting himself. Didn't look like he lacks confidence and did what he does."
HE SAID IT
"It was a good run for me. I know eventually I'm going to walk hitters. I'm not a guy that paints like some guys do. But to be able to stay in the zone or around the zone for the most part the past month or so means a lot. Keeping free bases unoccupied, that's big."--Kopech, on his walkless streak ending at 32 consecutive innings, dating back to July 31 with Triple-A Charlotte, with his first-inning free pass to Benintendi
Left-hander Carlos Rodon (6-3, 2.70 ERA) is scheduled to make his 15th start of the season, seventh at home and second vs. the Red Sox in a 6:10 p.m. CT first pitch Saturday. Eduardo Rodriguez (11-3, 3.44) takes the mound for the Red Sox. Rodon's nine consecutive quality starts are the longest by a White Sox pitcher since he made 10 straight from Aug. 11, 2015-April 13, 2016. Rodon is 5-0 with a 1.84 ERA, .151 opponent's average, 0.93 WHIP, 49 strikeouts and just four homers allowed over his past nine starts.
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.