This version of White Sox history brings us back four years. Michael Kopech was acquired by the White Sox from the Boston Red Sox along with Yoan Moncada in the Chris Sale trade. Kopech’s debut to the majors was highly anticipated by everyone in the baseball world, and on this day four years ago, he took the mound at Guaranteed Rate Field for the first time against the Minnesota Twins.
Kopech’s debut was shortened by rain, and he only threw two innings that day before the downpour. However, his stuff was electric that night and so was the crowd. The flamethrower recorded a final line of 2 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, and 4 K. He struggled with a bit of wildness, as most young pitchers do. If the rain hadn’t cut his night short, the 51 pitches in two innings would’ve likely ended his night sooner than most of us had hoped.
The biggest strikeout of the day was the one Kopech got to end the second inning. He punched out future Hall of Famer Joe Mauer looking on a high fastball to end the inning. But Michael Kopech’s first punchout in the big leagues came against Twins slugger Miguel Sano.
This night will likely hold a special place in the hearts of all 23,000 fans who welcomed Kopech to the show. On a personal level, I was at the game with one of my friends and my Dad, and I remember rushing home from school to be there before the first pitch. I go to the park and hurried inside because I did not want to miss a thing.
At the time, the White Sox were in the middle of a rebuild, and to a lot of fans, it was something to look ahead to. Everything was slowly coming together, and even though the White Sox lost that night, fans could feel the pieces of a young ballclub being put together.
I also remember asking my dad after the game, “Is that what it feels like in the playoffs?” He said, ”Yes. But just think 10 times that with 40,000 people.”
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