A short night for Michael Kopech and a long night for the Chicago White Sox in 9-0 loss to the Atlanta Braves – The Denver Post



Friday was not the return Michael Kopech had in mind.

The Chicago White Sox reinstated the right-hander from the injured list ahead of Friday’s game against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park.

He started, but it was a short and wild outing.

Kopech allowed four runs in two-thirds of an inning in a 9-0 loss to the Braves in front of 42,782.

“Physically I feel good,” Kopech said. “Obviously I wanted to go out there and take what I felt physically and have some results with it. But if there’s a positive takeaway for me, I felt physically good. Just erratic. Tough way to come back.

“I had a chance to throw every day of the break. Felt good. Even playing catch today, getting ready for the game, felt really good. Just didn’t take the feeling and execute with it.”

The four runs came on a Matt Olson grand slam.

The Sox returned from the break with a thud, falling behind quickly and never recovering. Losers of eight of their last 10, the Sox are a season-high 17 games under .500 at 38-55.

“Didn’t start off too good,” manager Pedro Grifol said. “Kopech was obviously rusty. He felt good. He felt strong. But he was rusty. He had a tough time finding his command. Some good pitches. Other than that, got himself in trouble with the walks, gave up the home run. Just ended up throwing too many pitches in that inning.”

Kopech threw 38 pitches — 14 strikes. He allowed one hit, which was the slam, walked four batters and hit one.

The bottom of the first started with Kopech walking Ronald Acuña Jr. Kopech hit Ozzie Albies and walked Austin Riley. That loaded the bases for Olson, who hit a 1-0 fastball over the right-center wall for the grand slam.

Kopech retired the next two before walking Orlando Arcia. That was his last batter as Touki Toussaint entered in relief.

“This game is a game where you have to be able to go out there and be consistent and take what you do from one to the next,” Kopech said. “I wasn’t even able to take one pitch to the next today. Put us in a hole.

“Obviously we wanted to come back after the break and set a tone. Change the pace a little bit. I wasn’t able to do that. Touki came in and picked me up, did a hell of a job (one run in 5 1/3 innings). I hate that I have to keep getting picked up this season, come in and cover five innings like that. It’s impressive.”

Friday marked the shortest start of the season for Kopech (3-8), who hasn’t pitched five innings since June 10 against the Miami Marlins. He lasted 4 1/3 on June 16 at Seattle, four innings on June 21 against the Texas Rangers and four-plus on June 27 at the Los Angeles Angels.

The Sox placed Kopech on the IL on June 29 with right shoulder inflammation.

“He threw his bullpens, he was ready to pitch, he just couldn’t find his command,” Grifol said. “He felt good, which is a good sign for us. He felt good. He was strong. Just about fine-tuning his mechanics and getting back to work with (pitching coach) Ethan (Katz).

“The first couple (of starts during this stretch) he was a little sore prior to this. Today he felt strong. Ethan and (bullpen coach) Curt (Hasler) will get back to the drawing board, look at the video and look at all that stuff, talk to him. They’ll have their session tomorrow, debrief a little bit and see where they’re at. It could be mechanical, but they’ll take care of that somehow, someway. Prior to him going on the IL, he was a little sore. But today he felt good. I haven’t heard anything otherwise, which is good news.”

Kopech knows a key is “finding my groove again.”

“Not that I’ve lost confidence in what I’m able to do, but right now the results aren’t there,” Kopech said. “Once I get back in the groove, I’m sure the results will show up. I’m in a little bit of a rut.”



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