Sox observations: Kopech hit hard, Harrison hits 1k originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The White Sox had an opportunity to gain some ground in the division early this week with a three-game set against the Twins. Instead, they’re guaranteed to end this series deeper in the hole than when they began. For the second-straight night the White Sox lost to their longtime rivals, in large part due to a power surge from the Twins. On Wednesday, the South Siders will try to salvage the series when Lance Lynn takes the mound.
MICHAEL KOPECH HURT BY HOME RUNS
Over the first two months of the season, Michael Kopech was nearly unhittable. He had a 1.29 ERA, held opponents scoreless in five of his eight starts, and didn’t give up a single home run. But in June, Kopech started to slide. He went from no home runs surrendered, to five home runs surrendered, and his ERA rose to 2.78. On Tuesday, Kopech started his July with the worst start of his season yet and gave up a season-high four homers. The Twins did it by attacking Kopech in the count early, as two of their homers were hit on the first pitch of the at-bat, and the other two were hit on the second pitch of the at-bat. Kopech’s ERA now stands at 3.34, and the White Sox haven’t won in one of his starts since June 7.
JOSH HARRISON: MR. 1000
After a disappointing start to the season, Josh Harrison was one of the White Sox’ hottest hitters in June. Now, just a few days into July, Harrison reached a major career milestone. With a ground rule double in the fifth inning, Harrison notched his 999th career hit. Two innings later, he got No. 1000 with a broken-bat, infield single. Over his short White Sox tenure, Harrison’s most memorable hit is probably his 12th-inning walkoff single against the Blue Jays last month. But over his 12-year career, his biggest hit is probably the extra-innings walkoff homer he hit off of Rich Hill in 2017. Not only did the homer give the Pirates a win, it was the Pirates’ first hit of the day. That’s right, his 10th-inning homer broke up Hill’s no-hit bid, and gave Hill the “L” in one fell swoop.
DIFFERENT POWER DYNAMIC
The Twins’ five total home runs on Tuesday put into sharp contrast the lack of power coming from the White Sox lineup. On Monday, José Abreu became the first Sox hitter to reach 10 home runs. Per our stats guru Chris Kamka, July 4 was the latest the White Sox had gone without a 10-homer player since 1979 (excluding lockout-shortened years), when Claudell Washington hit No. 10 on July 14. Before Abreu’s homer, the last White Sox long ball came courtesy of Luis Robert on June 28. The White Sox played four games and notched 48 hits that stayed in the park, between those two home runs. On the season, the Sox have only hit 62 home runs. That’s fourth-fewest in MLB, and good for a 0.78 home run per game pace. Eloy Jiménez is set to finally return to the lineup at some point in the next couple of days, and that should help, but the rest of the hitters will need to pick up some slack too, to give the team its best chance to make ground in the standings.
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