Notes: Grandal's patience paying off; Kopech

May 9th, 2021

entered Sunday’s series finale with the Royals featuring a rather interesting looking slash line of .121/.388/.259.

The White Sox catcher walked 13 times in his last four games covering 17 plate appearances, representing the most by a White Sox player over a four-game span in franchise history, per STATS LLC. Over four May starts, Grandal is 0-for-3 with three runs scored and one RBI, but is just 3-for-43 over his last 17 games.

Grandal has a career .349 on-base percentage, but wouldn’t call his patience within the zone a skill as much as a game plan.

“I’m done swinging at pitches that they want me to swing at. If you make a mistake, I want to crush you. If you don’t, then I’m going to walk,” Grandal said during a Sunday Zoom. “You are hunting for a certain zone or a certain pitch.

“You are starting to learn how the division is pitching you and how everybody else is pitching to you. So, you zone in on one spot, and if they don’t give it to you and it ends up being a walk, then great. If not, you just go up there trying to do some damage. Sometimes it’s going to go your way. Sometimes it’s not.”

This elevated free pass total, including four Saturday, joins Grandal with Bryce Harper (13 from May 7-10, 2016) and Hall of Famer Babe Ruth (13 from June 12-15, 1930) as the only players since 1901 with 13 walks in a four-game span. Grandal’s 26 walks over his first 21 games represent the second-most in White Sox history, behind Jim Thome’s 27 in 2007.

“I’m known to be a player of ‘I’m going to take care of my pitching staff, I’m going to hit for power and I’m going to get on base.’ That’s pretty much it,” Grandal said. “I’m not trying to go up there and trying to walk. It just so happens that I ended up walking. There’s times when I’m a little bit more passive than others. You look at the situation of the game and what the pitching matchup is going to be. You look at whether they are trying to get the guy behind me. And seeing how they don’t want to mix and match that up.

“Sometimes, you do go up there looking for one pitch in one zone and trying to hit the ball out. Other than that, it’s great to be in a list of guys that are … . Bryce Harper is probably going to be a Hall of Famer, and then Babe Ruth in the conversation is always something great.”

Kopech could be a Friday starter
Michael Kopech is the No. 1 consideration to start one of Friday’s doubleheader contests against the Royals at Guaranteed Rate Field, per White Sox manager Tony La Russa. The right-hander allowed one run over two innings and 28 pitches in Saturday night’s 9-1 victory, and has fanned 35 against eight walks to go with a 1.61 ERA over 22 1/3 innings.

Kopech struck out 10 against the Rangers over five innings in his last start on April 25.

“He’s such a valuable reliever too that we are balancing when he’s available to help us win that day,” La Russa said. “We looked at it: He can pitch one of the two days, [Saturday] or Sunday, and the last day he would be available would be Tuesday. If we need him to win the game, he’ll pitch there, rest two days and could start.”

Third to first

• Tim Anderson, Nick Madrigal and Yoán Moncada are the first trio of White Sox teammates with two hits each in an inning since Josh Fields, Jerry Owens and Danny Richar on Sept. 17, 2007 during an 11-run fifth inning at the Royals. The White Sox won that game, 11-3. Moncada drove in three during the eight-run first inning Saturday.

• Dylan Cease (Tuesday), Dallas Keuchel (Wednesday) and Carlos Rodón (Thursday) will face the Twins at the outset of a seven-game homestand against AL Central opponents.

They said it

“That [Salvador] Perez high moon shot with the wind and everything, that was nice. Got that one out of the way and then I was like, ‘All right, you can take a breath, relax and enjoy it.’” -- Danny Mendick on his right field debut Saturday night. He was back in right on Sunday.

“It means I’m getting old, I think. But you know, I enjoy talking pitching. Always have, always will.” -- Lance Lynn, on what it means to be a mentor to younger pitchers on the White Sox staff.