Another six homers, another outright mauling of a team, this one the vaunted Cubbies.
Dallas Keuchel was masterful, even with a somewhat sloppy eighth inning. And the offense just pummeled Jon Lester, knocking him out of the box early with eight big runs.
If this was a prizefight, a towel would have hit the canvas, as Grandpa Rossy sent in his subs as early as the fifth inning. I mean, look at that delicious WPA line just hugging the pavement down there, yum.
The recent stretch of strong starts pushed the White Sox rotation up higher than their opponents for the first time all season, during the Tigers series, now sitting at White Sox 49.8, Opponents 46.6.
Until that eighth, the White Sox were above 50 for the year for the first time, but Keuchel still finished with a terrific 74 game score, just a point less than his season’s best, vs. the Brewers. He was scoreless and walkless (and was ticked about Kipnis walking on strike three) through seven, and still maintains the highest average game score on the staff at 59.7
Lester, on the other hand, was left bloodied and battered, unable to finish the third and surrendering a season-high four home runs by an opposing a starter. Final game score? A season-low for an opponent: -1. The prior season low was 10, by Roland Bolaños.
Again, not a ton of tension in a blowout, so Edwin Encarnación facing 1.51 LI in the top of the second of a scoreless game with one runner on was tops in the game. Encarnción whiffed, but Luis Robert stepped up and clocked a home run as the next batter, facing the second-highest pressure in the game at 1.23 LI.
In a runaway game, there’s very little leverage — look at the green lines on the leverage index above, just about disappearing along with Lester from the game. But, for this continued failure in the game leading to eight earned runs on four homers without completing the third inning, Lester faced the most leverage in the game, at 0.59 pLI.
Robert’s homer clocked in at .176 WPA, the highest value added in the game.
Robert clocked in with a .172 WPA despite three Ks, on the strength of what became the game-winning tallies driven in by his massive home run off of Lester. Remember, all, WPA measures the probability added to the win, so in a blowout, you might hit three homers later in the game, but if the first of your homers come with the score 8-0, none of them add much to a game already decided. It’s tricky stuff, maybe a little goofy. But anyway, Keuchel was tonight’s runner-up and José Abreu third place.
Magic Number: 2,547
Per an estimate made by Trevor Lines at South Side Hit Pen, the White Sox hit a total of 2,547 feet worth of home runs tonight. That is nearly a half-mile of home runs!