CHICAGO — Michael Kopech pitched very well for the White Sox on Thursday. Unfortunately, white-hot Rays hurler Charlie Morton was even better, beating the South Siders, 5-0.
Morton entered the rubber game of the series at 4-0 on a bad Tampa team, with an AL-best 1.42 ERA and 0.82 WHIP. He handcuffed the White Sox over eight innings, allowing just two hits, two walks and a hit batsman, for an 84 game score. Morton now has five of 16 Rays wins.
Only Yoán Moncada (single) and Nomar Mazara (double) touched Morton in the game.
Kopech was strong, if inefficient. He lasted just four innings but was strong overall: six Ks, one walk, one hit and no runs, for a 65 game score.
The game was scoreless until the seventh inning, when Steve Cishek entered and continued his slump, loading the bases on a single-walk-single. Aaron Bummer was summoned with the bases full and one out, and surrendered a two-run single to ninth-place hitter Mike Zunino, giving Tampa all the offense they'd need tonight.
Kelvin Herrera came on in the ninth and gave up three earned runs, snapping his strong comeback from two awful outings to open the season. Herrera, who has a 6.92 ERA over nine games this season, was placed on waivers after the game. It's the second time this season Herrera has been waived, and it's expected that the White Sox will have to eat the remaining $7 million or so left on his deal.
The roster move was made necessary by the return on Lucas Giolito to start the series opener in San Francisco on Friday. Giolito, who injured his right biceps muscle in his second start of the season, replaces Reynaldo López in the rotation. López will move to the bullpen, sharing a start with Kopech during his turn in a de facto six-man rotation. López will be tested in higher-leverage short relief opportunities as well.