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Baseball Daily Dose

Michael Kopech is a One-Hit Wonder

by Janice Scurio
Updated On: June 8, 2022, 9:32 am ET

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A few artists have been written off as one-hit wonders. There was Tubthumping by Chumbawumba, Somebody That I Used to Know by Gotye, Closing Time by Semisonic. (When was the last time you thought about any of those songs? Well, I suppose you’re thinking of them now.) What kind of artist does it take to become a one-hit wonder, four times in one year? Hard-throwing righty Michael Kopech accomplished that feat on Tuesday night, limiting a mighty offense in the Los Angeles Dodgers to just one hit over six scoreless frames. 

Kopech’s command was on point, primarily on his fastball, which was good for 15 called strikes on the evening. He was also able to lure nine whiffs on that pitch, good for a 36% CSW (called strikes plus whiffs), contributing to an admirable 34% CSW on all pitches used (fastball, slider, curveball). He issued just one walk, and struck out eight.

He threw 98 pitches, 68.4% of them being fastballs, mixing in the slider and curveball when necessary. Most impressively, he limited hard contact well - only 11 balls were put in play in the duration of the game, with only four hard hit balls recorded by the Dodgers lineup. 

Though Kopech was primarily known in his 2021 relief role for hitting velocities of up to 100+ MPH, his four-seamer has averaged out at 95.2 MPH this year, and in this outing, it averaged out at 96.2 MPH. This trivial loss in velocity hasn’t seemed to affect his performance as he uses his secondary pitches well enough; his fastball remains to be highly effective. Opponents hold a .162 batting average and .259 wOBA against his fastball, and a .114 batting average and .172 wOBA on his slider. His curveball is his third most used pitch and has held opponents to a .150 average and .186 wOBA, with an impressive 30.2% whiff rate.

Perhaps what’s most fascinating about Kopech is how he’s still a work in progress. He pitched only 69 innings in relief in 2021 after returning to the White Sox after Tommy John surgery, and is still in his ramp-up period though throwing 98 pitches in six innings in June is evidence he may be able to handle a heavier workload. He carries forth an absolutely wonderful 1.94 ERA and 0.94 WHIP over 51 innings pitched through 10 games started, including 51 strikeouts. 

Let the one-hit wonders keep on coming.

 

Joe Maddon Relieved of Managerial Duties

The Los Angeles Angels fired manager Joe Maddon on Tuesday. This news is amidst the Angels’ 12-game losing streak. Two weeks ago, the Angels were 10 games above .500, so this tailspin was a bit of a shock, as they’re now far from any playoff contention. Third base coach Phil Nevin will serve as interim manager.

 

Hitters with an EDGE

Ronald Acuña Jr. vs. Athletics

2-for-4, 2 HR, 2 RBI

A two homer effort for Acuña, who launched two solo shots in the first and third innings. With the win over the Athletics, the Braves now have a season-best six game winning streak. Acuña is now hitting .455 with a 1.389 OPS through the first five games he’s played in June.

Marcus Semien vs. Guardians

4-for-4, 2 HR, 2 RBI, BB

3-for-4, HR, 1 RBI

Semien provided seven hits and three homers over the course of Tuesday’s doubleheader against Cleveland. His early season struggles have been well-publicized, but he’s certainly shown evidence of turning things around. After this seven-hit performance, Semien now carries a .317/.371/.651 triple-slash line in his past 15 games. This also included his 11th career multi-homer game.

Aaron Judge vs. Twins

2-for-5, 3 RBI, BB

Judge went deep in the first inning for his 22nd round-tripper of the year. He now leads the league in home runs. He’s been going strong for a long while now - but he carries a 1.070 OPS through 232 plate appearances. The Yankees are also the first team in the Major Leagues this year, to reach 40 wins.

 

Pitchers with an EDGE

Justin Verlander vs. Mariners

7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 12 K

On Tuesday, Verlander became the active all-time leader in strikeouts by punching out a season-high 12 batters. 18 swings and misses, notably nine on his slider was the crown jewel in this performance from the 39-year-old veteran. He now has 3,086 strikeouts, moving past Max Scherzer.

Alek Manoah vs. Royals

6 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K

Manoah earned his seventh victory by limiting the Royals lineup to just five hard-hit balls. Though he did not necessarily miss a lot of bats in this start, he was able to prevent runs from scoring. He carries forth a glittery 1.81 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in 69 2/3 innings pitched over 11 starts.

Yu Darvish vs. Mets

7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K

Things were a bit slippery at first – Darvish hit three of the first five Mets batters. He eventually settled down, and threw seven scoreless innings. Darvish only used six out of the billion pitches he knows how to throw tonight, walking away with a wonderful 36% CSW on all six pitches including 20 called strikes, and a game-leading 16 swings and misses. 

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Closing Time

Ryan Pressly vs. Mariners (11th Save)

1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K

The Astros closer earned his 11th save of the season with a clean 1-2-3 inning that involved a swift strikeout of Taylor Trammell, a Cal Raleigh lineout on the first pitch, and a Jesse Winker strikeout on a 3-2 count. The 33-year-old has now converted 11 out of 13 save opportunities.

Gregory Soto vs. Pirates (11th Save)

1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K

Soto has solidified himself as the Tigers’ closer as he threw a perfect frame with just eight pitches. 

Kenley Jansen vs. Athletics (15th Save)

1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K

Jansen threw a perfect ninth inning as he retired the side including striking out Jed Lowrie to end the game. He’s now converted 15 out of 18 save opportunities. 

Corey Knebel vs Brewers (10th Save)

1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 1 K

After a rare blown save by Josh Hader, Knebel picked up the save against his former squad, after Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson said that Knebel will remain the team’s primary closer. He issued three walks, but was still able to escape any danger and secure the win for the Phillies.

Daniel Bard vs. Giants (12th Save)

1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K

Matt Strahm vs. Angels (2nd Save)

1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K

 

Priority Pickup

Yandy Díaz - 1B/3B - Tampa Bay Rays - Rostered in 10% of Yahoo Leagues

Diaz has some great plate patience as he currently holds an elite 16.7% chase rate, a 17.8% BB rate, and a very respectable 9.2% K-rate. He’s an absolute must for OBP leagues - he has an attention-grabbing .419 OBP through 186 plate appearances. In his last seven games, he holds a .471/.667/.529 triple-slash line (8-for-17) including three runs scored, nine walks drawn, one RBI, and a stolen base.

 

Wednesday’s Matchup of the Day

Dane Dunning (1-3, 4.11 ERA) vs. Shane Bieber (3-3, 3.12 ERA)

The Rangers and Guardians continue their series in Cleveland, with a promising starter in Dunning taking the mound for Texas, and a former Cy Young winner in Bieber starting for Cleveland. In his last outing against the Mariners, Dunning gave up two runs over seven innings Friday in a no-decision. Bieber has had himself a good time against weaker lineups; he pitched seven innings and struck out 11, giving up two runs and picking up the win over the Orioles in his last start.  

 

American League Quick Hits

Rangers placed LHP Brett Martin on the COVID-19 injured list. … Athletics activated C Stephen Vogt from the 10-day injured list. … Tigers placed INF Jeimer Candelario on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to June 6, with a left shoulder subluxation. … Twins placed OF Kyle Garlick on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring strain. … Blue Jays placed C Danny Jansen on the 10-day injured list with fractured left pinkie. … Mike Trout left Tuesday night's game against the Red Sox due to left groin tightness.

National League Quick Hits

Pirates placed LHP Dillon Peters on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to June 3, with a lower back strain. … Braves placed RHP Collin McHugh on the COVID-19 injured list. … Cardinals activated OF Tyler O'Neill from the 10-day injured list. … Nationals activated INF Ehire Adrianza from the 60-day injured list. … Phillies placed Johan Camargo on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to June 6, with a right knee strain. … Willy Adames (ankle, quad) will be activated on Wednesday, per Brewers manager Craig Counsell..Padres placed RHP Robert Suarez on the 15-day injured list with right knee inflammation. … Giants placed RHP Alex Cobb on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to June 4, with a neck strain. … Kolten Wong departed Tuesday's game against the Phillies due to right calf discomfort. … Pete Alonso was removed from Tuesday night's game against the Padres after getting hit by a pitch on his right hand, but X-rays turned up negative. … Starling Marte is undergoing an MRI on his left quad.

Janice Scurio

Janice Scurio (@scuriiosa) is a writer that has appeared on various baseball podcasts and blogs about the White Sox over at South Side Sox.