The Chicago White Sox offense did not help Michael Kopech at all

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MAY 15: Starting pitcher Michael Kopech #34 of the Chicago White Sox delivers the pitch in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Guaranteed Rate Field on May 15, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MAY 15: Starting pitcher Michael Kopech #34 of the Chicago White Sox delivers the pitch in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Guaranteed Rate Field on May 15, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /
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Something rare happened on Sunday afternoon. For just the second time all season, Chicago White Sox starter Micheal Kopech allowed multiple runs in a start.

Kopech was tagged for three runs, all coming in the second inning. Despite being the most runs he has allowed all season, his performance against the Yankees served as an impressive showcase of his growth as a pitcher.

Kopech has been outstanding since moving into the starting rotation. The 26-year-old has lived up to his billing as a former top pitching prospect and a first-round pick. In seven starts, he has posted a 1.54 ERA with 33 strikeouts and a 0.94 WHIP.

Kopech’s transition into the starting rotation has not been easy. People forget 2021 was his first real taste of pitching in the majors. He missed two full seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery and sitting out the 2020 season for personal reasons.

Sunday showed that Kopech has what it takes to be a great starting pitcher in the major leagues for a long time. While facing the vaunted New York Yankees, he only needed 10 pitches to retire the side in the first inning.

One bad inning and some bad offense really hurt Michael Kopech on Sunday.

The second inning is when the wheels fell off. After recording the first two outs, he walked Joey Gallo. An Isiah Kiner-Falefa single and Jose Trevino walk loaded the bases. With a 3-2 count on Aaron Hicks, Kopech lost the handle on a fastball and walked in a run.

DJ LeMahieu drew a walk to push home another run, then a wild pitch the following at-bat brought home, Trevino. The wild pitch put runners on second and third for Aaron Judge. Kopech was able to stop the bleeding by getting Aaron Judge to ground out.

After a disastrous second inning like that, many young pitchers would have folded. But with Lucas Giolito on the COVID list and the White Sox in the midst of a playing 17 games in 17 days, the bullpen was in need of some relief. Despite not having his best stuff, Kopech buckled down and put together a quality start.

Kopech threw a total of 91 pitches. Sixty-three percent of those were four-seam fastballs. Not only was his control spotty at times but his average fastball velocity also dropped to 93.6 mph, which is 1.6 mph slower than his usual 95.2 average.

Despite the shortcomings, he did not allow another base runner the rest of the day, going six innings with three strikeouts and allowing three runs on just one hit. Most importantly, he gave the White Sox a chance to win. The offense did not hold up their end of the bargain.

The White Sox could only muster up four hits. Their second hit of the game did not come until the sixth inning. Kopech is just the sixth pitcher in franchise history to get tagged with a loss despite allowing one earned run or less over at least six innings.

Lack of run support is nothing new for White Sox starting pitchers. As a team, the White Sox offense is just 28th in the MLB in runs scored. They are also 28th in OBP and 24th in batting average.

With what should be a loaded White Sox offense, it should not have to be this way. Kopech deserves a greater margin of error.

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