The Chicago White Sox made a push before the All-Star break by winning three of four games against the American League Central-leading Minnesota Twins.
Chicago stumbled out of the break, dropping two to the second-place Cleveland Guardians before winning the final two to split the four-game series. Now the White Sox want to build on their momentum when they open a two-game series against the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday in Denver.
Chicago right-hander Michael Kopech (3-6, 3.36 ERA) will face Colorado righty German Marquez (6-7, 5.47) in the opener.
The White Sox have not been to Colorado in five years, and the memories aren’t all that pleasant. The Rockies took two of three games in that interleague series, outscoring Chicago 26-9.
Marquez faced the White Sox in the opener of that set, and it remains his only appearance against them. He went seven innings in 12-4 Colorado’s win, allowing three runs on nine hits and no walks while striking out five. He also had two hits, scored twice and was the winning pitcher.
That season was the first full one for Marquez and started a string of double-digit-win campaigns that went through 2019. He has not recaptured that form this season, but his two starts before the break could be signs that he is starting to get back to that level.
Marquez pitched 13 2/3 innings in those starts, allowed a combined four runs and fanned eight while walking two. He became the second Rockies pitcher to eclipse 900 career strikeouts, second only to Jorge De La Rosa (985).
Marquez will have a tough act to follow after Kyle Freeland’s seven shutout innings during a 2-0 road win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday night. The Rockies, who salvaged the finale of the four-game set, come into the Chicago series with some injuries.
Kris Bryant didn’t play Monday due to a foot issue. Jose Iglesias left the game after fouling a ball off his foot, and Connor Joe is banged up and needed a day off.
“Kris has some discomfort in his foot,” manager Bud Black said after the Monday game. “It has been sort of a gradual thing over the last few days. Today we decided to take him out of the lineup to get a lot of treatment. He’ll get re-evaluated (Tuesday) when we get back to Denver with our doctors, some specialists, and see where we are.”
Kopech will make his first appearance against the Rockies in a major league career that started in 2018, and he’ll get a taste of pitching at altitude. In his most recent outing, he beat the Twins on July 15 after allowing two runs on five hits in five innings.
The Chicago position players are also steadying themselves for dealing with the big outfield at Coors Field.
“That place is huge,” White Sox outfielder Andrew Vaughn said. “The ball flies.”
Vaughn is coming to Colorado with fresher legs. He played the first three games against Cleveland — including both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader — but manager Tony La Russa sat him Sunday. That, coupled with Monday’s off day for the White Sox, will help him for the vastness of the outfield in Denver.
“Sometimes you need freshness of mind and (sometimes) you need freshness of body,” La Russa said of Vaughn on Sunday. “The case here, it’s freshness of body.”
–Field Level Media