Sox hope return of Jimenez injects some life into lineup after Kopech's rough night

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago White Sox starter Michael Kopech delivers a pitch during the first inning of the team's baseball game against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday, July 5, 2022, in Chicago.

    Chicago White Sox starter Michael Kopech delivers a pitch during the first inning of the team's baseball game against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday, July 5, 2022, in Chicago. Associated Press

  • Chicago White Sox's AJ Pollock, right, argues with home plate umpire Randy Rosenberg after striking out during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins Tuesday, July 5, 2022, in Chicago. Pollock was ejected. The Twins won 8-2.

    Chicago White Sox's AJ Pollock, right, argues with home plate umpire Randy Rosenberg after striking out during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins Tuesday, July 5, 2022, in Chicago. Pollock was ejected. The Twins won 8-2. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 7/5/2022 11:21 PM

Eloy Jimenez was back with the White Sox Tuesday.

They could have used the power-hitting left fielder, but Jimenez was not activated off the injured list.

 

That is likely going to happen Wednesday afternoon, and Jimenez can only help an underachieving Sox team that is in the midst of another nose-dive.

Out since April 24 with a right hamstring tendon tear that required surgery, a healthy Jimenez has the ability to help the White Sox get well.

"We're different when he's around," manager Tony La Russa said.

Hopefully he's right, because something needs to change in a hurry or the first-place Twins are going to pull away from the Sox in the AL Central.

After a baserunning gaffe cost them in Monday's series opener against Minnesota, Michael Kopech started for the White Sox Tuesday at Guaranteed Rate Field.

It was a rough night for the right-hander, who gave up 4 home runs and was gone after allowing 6 runs on 8 hits and 4 walks over 4⅔ innings.

"Not a good day but unfortunately, that's how baseball goes sometimes," Kopech said. "Made some bad pitches over the heart of the plate and they hit them hard. I've just go tot be better than that. That's something that's easy to fix from start to start, just executing pitches better."

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After a 35-minute rain delay in the eighth inning, the Twins completed an 8-2 win. They are 5-0 vs. the Sox this season and lead them by 6½ games in the AL Central.

Up to now, a string of injuries received the bulk of the blame for the Sox's woeful play.

All-star closer Liam Hendriks and outfielder Adam Engel returned from the injured list Monday, Jimenez is likely coming off Wednesday and Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada are also back up and running.

Is the time finally right for the White Sox to get back in the race?

"Well, the first part is just looking good on paper and that doesn't take you very far," La Russa said. "It's taking it on the field and pitching, making plays and hitting."

Hitting homers and scoring runs on a consistent basis remains a major issue for the Sox, and they didn't do much Tuesday against Josh Winder.

Called up from Class AAA St. Paul and starting in place of Chris Archer, who went on the IL with a hip injury, Winder pitched 5 innings and gave up 2 runs.

The White Sox have yet to beat the Twins this season, and they've been booed the last two nights on their home turf in an important series against Minnesota.

"You've got expectations that you're supposed to win and if you don't win, people get upset," La Russa said. "As long as we're as upset as they are. I guarantee we're as upset when we get beat as the fans are."

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