The hopes of a comeback season for Reynaldo López and back-to-back games with solid pitching was quickly shut down. The Minnesota Twins absolutely exploded with offense throughout the duration of the game. The Chicago White Sox are struggling with their starters, and the bullpen is incredibly shaky. In a short season, the pitching must come around or a few call-ups and acquisitions have to be made.
The Good Guys drop the series and hold a 1-2 overall record. An eight-game road trip might do the White Sox well against Cleveland and Kansas City. Before the South Siders take flight, let’s analyze how they finished at home.
In his first start of the season, Reynaldo López failed terribly and left with an injury. He recorded two outs to start the game: good. He proceeded to walk two batters: bad. He eventually gave up a grand slam: ugly. ReyLo very quickly found his way out of the game, so Gio González was really the true starter of the game, but he did not do too hot either in his White Sox debut (finally).
As for Kenta Maeda, only Luis Robert and Adam Engel were able to solve his deceptive pitching motion. He pitched five innings, and he only gave up two runs (via the home run) and four hits. He even struck out six, so it was an ideal start for Maeda in his Minnesota debut.
Although Nelson Cruz went 4-for-5 and solidifying his spot on the “he-can-destroy-White-Sox-pitching” list, Jake Cave produced in the highest-leverage situation. Top of the first inning, with bases loaded and two outs, Cave homered (2.77 LI) to left field for a grand slam, giving the Twinkies a 4-0 lead at the time.
López, obviously, faced the highest pressure of any player in the game at a 1.13 pLI. Giving up four runs off of three hits and two walks will do it to you; oh yeah, he only recorded two outs in the game.
With a little déjà vu, Cave’s first-inning grand slam added the best WPA of the game at .282, the highest single-play WPA next to Nelson Cruz’s bases-clearing double in the second (.072 WPA).
Call it a hat trick, Cave earns today’s MVP honors with a total .283 WPA. The grand slam skyrocketed his win probability added. Cruz, with two doubles and two home runs, had a total WPA of .102. The grand slam was an early dagger, but Cruz shut down any possibility of a comeback with each and every at-bat. If anything, they should split the honors.
Magic Number: 1
The Good Guys did have at least one entertaining moment in this game. Luis Robert hit his first career home run! The ball traveled 419 feet to the slight left of center field! Let me just tell you, that ball was CRUSHED, and LuBob did not even get the whole baseball in his swing, but he sent it at a speed of 111.4 mph. And it touched the clouds. Wow!
Luis has liftoff!— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) July 26, 2020
Career home run no. 1 for La Pantera! pic.twitter.com/gYwzba4jQe
You know you want to see it again!
Yes, welcome to Chicago, Luis!