Dodgers @ White Sox June 7, 2022: Grandal, Kelly, Pollock, Kimbrel

For the first time since August 16, 2017, the Dodgers will face the White Sox in a regular season game. While the two obviously spend plenty of time around each other in Glendale every Spring Training, the interleague schedule coupled with the shortened COVID season have kept the teams apart for awhile.

Highlights from the last meeting, a 5-4 victory for the Dodgers to secure a season sweep of the White Sox, include five home runs between the teams in Dodger Stadium and a walk-off double by Yasiel Puig to score Austin Barnes and Logan Forsythe. Nicky Delmonico had a pair of solo home runs in that game, two of the 18 in his major league career.

Safe to say plenty has changed, including a trio of former Dodgers being on the team in Yasmani Grandal, Joe Kelly and AJ Pollock. With Kelly currently on the IL and both Grandal and Pollock out of the lineup today, it’ll might take another day to see one of them against the Dodgers.

As for the rest of today’s lineups:

Image Image
5:10 PM Chicago
RF Betts SS Mendick
1B Freeman (L) LF Vaughn
SS T. Turner CF Robert
C Smith 1B Abreu
3B J. Turner RF Sheets (L)
CF Bellinger (L) DH Burger
DH Alvarez (S) 3B Moncada (S)
LF Taylor C McGuire (L)
2B Lux 2B Harrison
P White (R) P Kopech (R)

Eddy Alvarez is the DH tonight, the 9th different Dodger to appear there this season. With Edwin Rios (20 games) and Max Muncy (8 games) out, and placing Justin Turner (23 games at DH) into the field, the options are slim with a bench comprised of Zach McKinstry, Hanser Alberto, Barnes and Alvarez.

Losers in 6 of their past 8 games that weren’t against the D-backs, the Dodgers get their first ever look at Michael Kopech.

——

Kopech, a 26-year-old right-hander, was drafted by the Red Sox in the first round of the 2014 draft and sent to Chicago as part of a package for Chris Sale in 2016.

Debuting in August 2018, Kopech was a Top 10/20 prospect in baseball but underwent Tommy John surgery roughly a month after his major league debut. After missing all of 2019 and then opting out of the 2020 season, Kopech returned to the White Sox for 44 games last season, starting 4, and has started all 9 appearances this season.

Sitting at a 2.20 ERA/3.41 FIP/4.67 xFIP, Kopech’s K% is down from last season (23.9% from 36.1%) and his BB% is up (12.8% from 8.4%) as he has moved into the rotation full-time. Like many others, his HR/FB rate is at 3.4% after being at 13.4% in 69 1/3 IP a year ago. That’s in addition to a GB% that’s down to 30.1% from 37.7% a year ago. Impressively, he’s got a .189 BABIP this season while relying on a 4-seamer (65.0%), a slider (20.2%) and a curve (14.2%). Of his 43 strikeouts, 29 have come on the fastball that does boast a spin rate in the 97th percentile and is in the Top 25 of vertical movement vs. similar pitches.

In his most recent start in Toronto, he lasted just 3 IP, allowing 5 runs on 6 hits and 4 walks. Kopech had allowed just 6 earned runs this season before that outing, with three straight games lasting 6+ IP with less than 2 hits allowed. While he walked 8 across those three starts, 4 came against the Yankees on May 15. Allowing 3 runs in that 2nd inning, all three came through after he walked a batter with the bases loaded twice and threw a wild pitch to score the third.

——

As for the Dodgers, Mitch White gets his fourth start of the season after beating the Phillies and D-backs before falling the the Pirates on June 1. Up to 5 IP against the Pirates with 7 Ks, White has stretched out in each of his four appearances through May and June.

Nearly halfway to his pitch total from last season, and at 20 2/3 IP this season after 46 2/3 IP in 2021, White still using his fastball roughly 50% of the time with his slider overtaking his curve as his second-most used pitch. That’s primarily because he’s gone to it more against right-handed batters, with the fastball and slider almost even at 44.7% and 45.2% this season to righties.

——

So I mentioned all the former Dodgers on the White Sox earlier. Now here’s a former White Sox/ck who also won’t be facing his former team just yet.

——

As for some other pitching news on Clayton Kershaw and Andrew Heaney, Jack Harris has that covered:

And for Muncy, he’s starting for OKC again tonight:

——

First pitch is set for 5:10 p.m. PT on SportsNet LA and apparently TBS if you’re not in the LA market.

About Cody Bashore

Cody Bashore is a lifelong Dodger fan originally from Carpinteria, California (about 80 miles north of Dodger Stadium along the coast). He left California to attend Northern Arizona University in 2011, and has lived in Arizona full-time since he graduated in 2014 with a journalism degree. He now works for the university’s athletics department after spending seven years with the local newspaper.