White Sox begin May with eyes — OK, our eyes — on Michael Kopech, Eloy Jimenez

SHARE White Sox begin May with eyes — OK, our eyes — on Michael Kopech, Eloy Jimenez

Adam Engel scores in the fourth inning Tuesday to give the White Sox a 2-1 lead over the Cardinals. (AP/Jeff Roberson)

ST. LOUIS — The White Sox neither staggered nor rolled into May. After winning three of five games against the Royals in Kansas City, they just sort of arrived.

But their record after a 3-2 walk-off defeat Tuesday against the Cardinals is 8-19. Not counting 1995, when the start of the season was delayed by a players’ strike, the Sox entered May with their lowest winning percentage in 50 years.

Now May is off to a rough start, too.

‘‘Look, we’re fighting here right now,’’ said right-hander James Shields, who allowed one run and two hits in six innings and lost his shot at a victory when closer Joakim Soria blew a save in the ninth inning. ‘‘The clubhouse morale is still good, but we’ve got to pull some wins together.’’

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Soria allowed a leadoff home run to Matt Carpenter that tied the score before striking out Jose Martinez. Marcell Ozuna followed with a double off the right-field wall and scored on Yadier Molina’s line shot over the head of left fielder Nicky Delmonico.

‘‘It’s a game,’’ Soria said. ‘‘What can I do now? It sucks that it happened this way, but we have to move on as quick as possible.’’

The Sox are playing better baseball of late. That was evident in Shields’ start, in Yoan Moncada’s two-out, two-run double in the fourth and in a pair of clutch defensive plays by catcher Welington Castillo and first baseman Jose Abreu.

On the other hand, 8-19 is 8-19. Manager Rick Renteria attributes it to poor starting pitching early on and an extended run of missed opportunities with runners in scoring position that largely is over.

‘‘If you’re not pitching well and you’re not scoring runs, you can see where it all ends up being,’’ Renteria said.

Right. Not pitching well plus not hitting well equals not ideal.

But the start of a new month also offers a chance to look ahead — and ahead is where it’s all at for the Sox. Ahead is where, for example, 100 mph right-hander Michael Kopech resides. Sox fans certainly are looking forward to the day when Kopech, the top pitching prospect in the organization, darkens the door at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Is it only a matter of when, not if, the 22-year-old will move up from Class AAA Charlotte this season?

‘‘Michael has had four starts,’’ general manager Rick Hahn said. ‘‘In one of them, he made it to the sixth inning. . . . He continues to have the same items on his plate [since] he left spring training: continue to build the usage and, ultimately, the mastery of the changeup and, as he put it, continue to refine his composure on the mound. He’s making progress in both those areas.’’

Actually, Hahn was mistaken on one count: Kopech had a pair of six-inning starts entering Tuesday and added a third that night.

There is great interest, too, in the progress of 21-year-old outfielder Eloy Jimenez, the Sox’ No. 1 prospect overall. He’s only at Class AA, but who wouldn’t enjoy seeing him facing major-league pitching before 2018 is done? Hahn doesn’t dispute that it might happen.

‘‘It is possible to get to that point at some point [in 2018], but ultimately it’s not going to be our excitement or our needs in Chicago that’s going to dictate when any kid gets here,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s going to be after the development at the minor-league level is complete.’’

Till then, the Sox must contend with May. Will it bring more success?

‘‘All aspects of our game, we’re capable of putting that together and getting it done,’’ Shields said. ‘‘Obviously, it’s a learning process with a lot of these guys. But this is an important part of the game, winning games like this.’’

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