White Sox' Michael Kopech explains balk that scored Adley Rutschman

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Kopech explains balk: 'It was the right call' originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Michael Kopech didn’t sugercoat how he performed in the White Sox loss to the Orioles on Friday night. Despite surrendering only three hits一 one of which was a bunt single on the first pitch of the game一 Kopech was unhappy that his lack of control and miscues let the Orioles score more easily.

“I've got to do a better job in big situations,” Kopech said. “I just didn't execute when I should have, and it made it tough for us to keep them at bay. It was a decent start considering what I had overall, but I don't think that was good enough, to say the least.”

One of the biggest mistakes was Kopech’s fourth-inning balk that plated Adley Rutschman. At the time it was a confusing ruling. Kopech came to a full stop, and didn’t appear to flinch. But he admitted it was the right call since he switched from his windup to his stretch. Kopech called the mental error “unacceptable.”

“I let the moment get away from me and didn't realize that I had been windup the whole time,” Kopech said. “I told him afterwards I thought I went windup and went back to stretch, but I started windup and then tried to switch to stretch. It was the right call.”

Kopech said umpires usually ask the pitcher whether he’s going to go with a windup or pitch out of the stretch when there’s a man on third, and he wasn’t asked beforehand. That could’ve helped remind Kopech to stick with one delivery, but he still took accountability for the mistake.

“I gotta lock that in and do the right thing there,” Kopech said. “I just messed up.”

Kopech miscues played a part in all three runs he surrendered on Friday. Cedric Mullins scored the first run on a wild pitch, Jorge Mateo was hit by a pitch and came around to score for the second run, and the balk plated the third. Would the White Sox have won if Kopech could have eliminated those mistakes? Theoretically they’d have gone into extra innings with a 1-1 tie. But given the fact that the White Sox couldn’t get a man on base after the third inning, their chances at a comeback felt bleak no matter the margin. Regardless, Kopech wants to clean those things up to give his team a better chance to win.

“Yeah, we got some things to work on for the next start.”

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