The Chicago White Sox made it four straight, are now better than .500 at 5-4, and sit alone in second place — yep, that’s playoff qualification — in the Central. It all came courtesy of a magical, seven-run seventh, which flipped the game from a 2-2 nail-biter to 9-2 laffer. Nick Madrigal had four hits, and nearly went 5-for-5 but for a surprisingly agile play at first base by Salvador Perez.
Yasmani Grandal had a very strong game as well, with three hits and three RBIs.
Per game score, Dylan Cease’s 56 this afternoon qualifies as the third-best start of the season for the Sox, a big bounce-back on an awful 17 to start the season and the third-best of the nine games so far this season. Cease went a strong six innings, with five hits, two runs, four Ks and a walk, and his one homer was a solo shot. And thanks to the White Sox’s killer top of the seventh, Dylan walked away with his first win of the season!
Jacob Junis started for K.C. and clocked in with a 46 game score, nothing to write home about but the best of the weekend for the Royals. He went 4 ⅓ innings, with six hits and two runs, getting a no-decision.
Reflecting the weakness of the first run through the rotation, the White Sox have averaged a 39.9 game score through the first nine games, while their opponent are at 48.9.
At 3.64 LI, Tyler Zuber’s full-count walk to Grandal, bringing in a run, was the biggest nail-bier of the game. Killer take by Yaz.
So, it was Tyler Zuber who faced the highest pressure in the game, at 2.74 pLI. What did he do under that pressure? Yeesh. Coming in with a runner on first and one out in the fifth, Zuber walked Luis Robert on four pitched, walked Yoán Moncada on a full count, struck out José Abreu with a 2-2 curve, then walked in a run with a free pass to Grandal on 3-2. If not for Edwin Encarnación’s slump (fly out to end the inning), the White Sox might still be batting in the inning.
This one has to be shared by the rookies. Luis Robert, technically, gets the nod, with his seventh-inning single to left that put runners on the corners. Robert punished a soft slider left up in the zone after quickly going down 0-2. But what added to the .141 WPA on this play was Madrigal’s smart running, boldly taking third on a single right in front of him. Madrigal gambled that Alex Gordon, playing fairly deep in a big outfield, wouldn’t get to Robert’s liner; the minute he knew the ball would drop, he also knew he’d stretch to third base, where he was safe standing up.
Grandal was the man today, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs, including a full-count, bases-loaded walk. His .291 WPA for the game towered over runners-up Madrigal and Cease.
Magic Number: .333
With four straight hits to start the game, Madrigal turned his 0-for-8 start to a .333 average.