Michael Kopech might be nervous to check the weather forecast Wednesday night.
The 22-year-old’s reluctance would be understandable. His first two starts on Chicago’s South Side have been interrupted because of rain — after two innings against the Minnesota Twins and after three against the Boston Red Sox.
“I’m going to say a little prayer to Mother Nature and see if we can figure things out,” Kopech joked after his last start.
Chicago (56-83) will hope for dry skies in the rubber match of a three-game series against Detroit (56-83). The finale’s winner will move into sole possession of third place in the American League Central.
Kopech (1-0, 0.82 ERA) is scheduled to make his fourth start of the season for the White Sox. He has allowed one run in his first 11 innings while walking one and striking out nine.
This marks Kopech’s second career start against Detroit. He limited the Tigers to one run on seven hits in six innings when he faced them Aug. 26 in Detroit. The performance yielded his first big-league victory.
The Tigers will counter with right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (6-6, 4.22 ERA), who is slated to make his 21st start of the year. The 32-year-old has thrown four quality starts in his last six outings, going 2-3 with a 3.79 ERA during that time.
In 12 career starts against the White Sox, Zimmermann is 5-4 with a 6.26 ERA. He has given up 45 earned runs in 64 2/3 innings, allowing 12 walks and striking out 43. That includes 20 earned runs allowed in 20 1/3 innings this year.
Zimmermann took a no-hitter through five innings against the New York Yankees in his most recent performance, but he surrendered three home runs in the sixth.
“It’s a tough situation to be in,” Zimmermann said to the Detroit News after a recent start. “My mentality my whole career has been to fill up the zone and get guys out in three pitches or less.
“But it seems like on a lot of guys, I get 0-2 and 1-2, and I tell myself, ‘All right, let’s get this over with and make a quality pitch here.’ But there will be a broken bat and or a jam shot and, boom — two bloops and a blast.”
The White Sox have tagged Zimmermann for 30 hits in his 20 1/3 innings.
“It’s not like I’ve pitched horribly,” Zimmermann said to the Detroit News. “I am just around the zone too much and they swing at everything.”
Outfielder Daniel Palka, who has homered in each of his past two contests, is one of the White Sox’ most confident hitters. The slugger has 21 home runs in his rookie campaign.
Chicago has won eight of 12 and 14 of 21.
“I think we’re all pulling in the same direction, and it’s a lot of fun to be a part of right now,” Kopech said. “Since I’ve been here, we’ve been a winning team, and hopefully it stays that way for a long time.”