Kopech throws 100, but Sox offense lags behind

Good news first: Michael Kopech dropped some jaws with a high-octane first inning; it was downhill from there for the White Sox. (@CST_soxvan)


Michael Kopech got on the mound and quickly showed that he is back. Not just, “Hey, it’s my first game of competitive ball since 2018!” No. Kopech is BACK back, and tweets are a little better at describing the the pure joy of having the righthander back.

That … was … ELECTRIC! Kopech only went one inning, which is a good approach as he is coming off of Tommy John surgery. Odds are he will be in Chicago after the first month of the season, and maybe that estimate even pushes back until June. Whatever the case is, hitting 100 mph multiple times is the best news the Sox have had this spring training.

However, that was just the top of the first inning, so there was a lot more game to go. Let’s put it this way: The excitement went away pretty quickly.

Maybe Drew Anderson was busy fawning over Kopech like everyone else, but he came into the game and did not do well out of the gate. Drew was all over the place, allowed three hits and walked two in his first inning on the bump, although Tim Anderson did not help any, with his third error of the spring. Drew’s second inning was much better, but he was finally lifted for Carson Fulmer in the fourth after allowing his fourth run. Really the only positive during Anderson’s outing was that Yasmani Grandal added another spring hit to his tally.

Quite frankly, depending on injuries and how well Andrew Vaughn continues to do when the games matter in the minors, today’s lineup looked like an August or September down-the-stretch lineup (maybe sans Adam Engel, but he was hitting ninth so it still fits).

But, more excitingly, back to Kopech.

Back to Yasmani Grandal:

Man, Grandal can do anything — what a fantastic signing. There are no holes in his game.

Now, back to Fulmer:

This game did not have a lot of positives, but Fulmer was one. Almost his entire spring has been great, and even that breaking ball on the Grandal caught-stealing had pretty good late movement. Even though Fulmer was pretty bad last season, he showed clear signs of improvement on just about everything. Obviously, it is very early to say the former first round pick is finally looking like it, but Fulmer has been very impressive. He now has a 1.86 ERA so far this spring.

Other than Kopech and Fulmer, no other pitcher really did well today. Codi Heuer finally looked like a minor leaguer, and Kodi Medeiros allowed the ninth and final run to the Rangers.

As for the offense, it finally added some runs — once the bench guys came in. There were not fireworks with these runs, they were not because of big hits, but runs are runs. Gavin Sheets finally broke the Sox out of the goose egg with a sac fly in the eighth inning. Zack Collins added the second and final run for the Sox with a single. With that, Collins is now hitting .333 and has an OPS of 1.261. So, while Yermín Mercedes is getting headlines (including from myself), Collins is still doing well enough to hold him off for the Opening Day roster at this point.

Sure, the Sox lost, but the best news of the day was that Kopech stole the show.


If you want some back-field work, James Fegan has you covered with some young guys.

Robert and Jiménez shine, but White Sox fall to Rangers 7-6

Bash Bros: Luis Robert and Eloy Jiménez ignited the White Sox offense this afternoon in Surprise. (Sean Williams/South Side Hit Pen)


SURPRISE, Ariz. — It was a dream day for White Sox fans, as Luis Robert and Eloy Jiménez both connected on their first home runs of the spring season. Additionally, Yoán Moncada had a multi-hit day and the White Sox starters put together a performance that fans should be excited about.

The only downside to the day? The strong performance wasn’t enough, as the Rangers hit a walk-off home run to beat the White Sox 7-6.

Drew Anderson took the mound for the White Sox this afternoon, and it was a tough day for the righthander. He struggled to throw strikes, got behind in a lot of his counts, and was being hit hard by the Rangers. They attacked Anderson early and often, which eventually led to the White Sox having to play from behind after the first inning. Luckily for Anderson, the bats backed him up and after his two innings of work, he left with the game tied.

Jiménez got the scoring started for the White Sox with an opposite field, two-run home run. That long ball gave the White Sox their first lead of the day in what was a back-and-forth battle for both teams. This was Eloy’s only hit this afternoon, but he also had a deep fly out to center field, where he just missed leaving the yard for the second time.

Jiménez would be one-upped by Luis Robert this afternoon. Robert had by far and away the best day out of any White Sox hitters. Shocking, right? In his first at-bat, Robert singled and then immediately stole second base. While at second, he kept getting a big lead, and shuffling back and forth between second and third base to mess with the rhythm of the opposing pitcher, Jonathan Hernandez. And Robert definitely had Hernandez’s attention, as he threw to the bag and had to step off another time because of Robert. While all of this was going on, Leury García was at the plate and ended up drawing a walk, as Hernandez struggled to focus on the strike zone.

In his second at-bat, Robert shot one over the left-center gap for a solo home run. According to Statcast data, the ball was hit with an exit velocity of 113 mph, and it got out of Surprise Stadium in a hurry. This shot came in the fourth inning, and gave the White Sox a 3-2 lead. For those keeping track at home, Robert had a single, home run, stolen base, RBI, and a run scored by this point. He was the star of the show today, and showcased all of the tools that he’s flooded with.

For the rest of the hitters this afternoon, Jaycob Brugman came up clutch with a three-run home run that gave the White Sox a late lead. Moncada collected two singles and hit the ball hard in each at-bat; he looks like he’s starting to get his timing down again, so I expect him to start putting the ball in play more frequently. And lastly, Andrew Vaughn went 1-for-2, picking up a single in his first at-bat of the afternoon. He’s playing in his first spring training with the big league club, but you wouldn’t think that’s true, as he looks extremely comfortable at the plate and continues to hit.

Offensively, the White Sox scored six runs on nine hits and the bats were the story from this afternoon. However, there were a few pitchers that turned in a good performance despite the loss. Adalberto Mejía entered the game in the fourth inning and he got a pop out for his first out, but that would be the only ball in play he would allow for the rest of his outing. He went on to strike out three consecutive batters before handing the duties off to Carson Fulmer with one out in the fifth inning. Fulmer looked great today, he pounded the strike zone and only allowed one ball to leave the infield. Fulmer finished the day perfect through an inning and two-thirds, with two strikeouts.

Despite the offensive surge this afternoon, the White Sox were on the wrong end of a one-run ballgame. They had some timely hitting, but it wasn’t enough to overcome what was an overall subpar day for the pitching staff. After using a little bit of spring training magic over the last few games, the White Sox got a taste of their own medicine in the loss today. The team will head to Tempe tomorrow to take on the Angels with first pitch scheduled for 2:10 CT. Joe Resis has the game coverage for SSHP.