White Sox' Michael Kopech wants to compete and compete now

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Kopech explains why he was upset after early exit originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Michael Kopech wants to pitch. The White Sox starter is a fierce competitor and wants to be on the mound as much as possible. That’s why Kopech looked like this when he was pulled after four-plus innings, despite holding Cubs hitters at bay, and lowering his ERA to 1.17 in the process:

“I want to be out there, and I want to be able to go deeper into games, take the load off our bullpen and actually get a chance to be the guy on the mound for as long as I can,” Kopech said. “I didn’t get to do that today, and that’s why I was upset.”

It’s something Kopech will likely have to get used to, at least in the short term, because the White Sox want to keep a cautious approach with Kopech as he takes on a full-time starter’s role for the first time since 2018. Tony La Russa went as far as to say the team could give Kopech a break at some point later this season. Meanwhile, the White Sox plan on giving Kopech an extra sixth day off, as soon as possible.

Kopech had a conversation with La Russa about the cautious approach, and why he was pulled after four innings on Tuesday. In the end, he understands why the decision was made to pull him after only 83 pitches.

“It makes sense,” Kopech said. “I’m still not going to be happy about it. That’s nothing against the decision, that’s just me wanting to compete for as long as I can.

“I want to be healthy at the end of the year, and be able to go six, seven, eight, or whatever, in July, August, September, and hopefully October. And I completely understand (the team’s cautious approach), but I still want to be able to do it now. I want to do it in May, I want to do it in June and July.

“ I just want to give the best performance I can for my team every time I take the mound. Today could’ve been that, but I understand I had some high pitch counts in earlier innings that kind of kept me from being able to do that, too. So, I gotta be more efficient.”

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