Forget the continued bad weather luck, it was just a flat-out bad night for Michael Kopech


If Michael Kopech lives up to all the hype, there are going to be a lot of really good nights — no matter how much it rains.

But rain or shine, Wednesday was going to be a bad night for the 22-year-old flamethrower.

The reason? No flames.

Kopech just didn’t have it Wednesday, something that happens to the game’s best hurlers, and certainly something that happens to rookies making just their fourth major league start.

Ridiculously, another rain delay accompanied this latest Kopech outing, the third time that’s happened in as many starts in front of the home fans at Guaranteed Rate Field. But the rain didn’t cut this outing short. Kopech did that himself, giving up seven runs on nine hits, four of which were homers, including a trio of long balls sent out of the park in a four-batter span in a nightmarish fourth inning.

After weather chopped his first two home starts to two and three innings, respectively, this one last just 3.1 innings.

“Obviously I didn’t have my best stuff, and aside from that I wasn’t locating the ball either,” Kopech said after the game, breaking down the recipe for disaster. “I missed a lot of spots and got taken advantage of, which is going to happen when I’m not throwing the way I need to.

“I was pitching like I was throwing 100, and I was throwing 93, 94. Can’t miss spots with that kind of velocity, and aside from that, the stuff I had tonight as a whole wasn’t great. So I got taken advantage of.”

Though we haven’t seen much of that much-ballyhooed 100-mph heat that was so often discussed prior to Kopech’s major league debut, it’s obviously a noteworthy tool in Kopech’s toolbox. It wasn’t there Wednesday, though, and the Tigers did what Kopech said: They took advantage. Two of the home runs traveled more than 430 feet, a visual representation to the layman of just how easy it was for hitters to do their job against Kopech on this night.

“Today there was more of a ‘hit the fastball’ kind of approach,” he said. “I feel like that’s a lot of people’s approach against me in general. When I don’t have the fastball that I have a lot of the times and they’re coming out hunting fastballs, it’s going to be hit.”

While this is certainly not the kind of start that will help Kopech live up to the incredibly high expectations fans have for him and he has for himself, it’s not some horrible omen. Bad nights happen.

“You are not going to always be as sharp every single outing,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He tried to work through it. Today was one of those days. I told him, ‘Hey there are a lot of better days ahead of you so I wouldn’t worry about this one.’”

It won’t do wonders for Kopech’s numbers in the short term, of course. He entered having allowed just one run in his first 11 big league innings. That 0.82 ERA leapt up to 5.02 by the book closed on him Wednesday.

Kopech chalked the rough evening up, at least partially, to a lack of correct preparation. And while it’s difficult to take anything from a shellacking like Wednesday’s, there might be one of Renteria’s frequently talked about “learning moments” here.

“I just feel like going into the game, there’s things that I needed to better that I didn’t do. I didn’t feel like I prepared myself well for the outing, and it showed. Just better preparation and I need to get out there and take care of my stuff and like I said, take a load off the bullpen, help the team win.”

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