Pirates manager Derek Shelton tried to neutralize Lucas Giolito by putting as many lefties and switch hitters as possible in the lineup. The plan was good in theory, but in practice, it failed miserably. Giolito was excellent tonight. So excellent that he pitched all nine innings without allowing a hit. The White Sox scored four runs, which was more than enough. Let’s take a closer look at this historic night.
Play of the game
In terms of wins probability added (WPA), the second inning walk drawn by Danny Mendick was the most important play of the game. That walk set up a three-run inning, and it had a WPA of +.071. But, the true play of the game in my mind is the final out. Giolito had Erik González on the ropes, as the count was 0-2. The bases were empty, and Giolito was one out away from history. González, who was the only Pirate to reach base (González drew a fourth inning walk), hit a liner to right field. Adam Engel made a good read on the ball, and he tracked it down to make the catch to secure the no-hitter. Surely, we will be watching that catch many, many times in the years to come.
Defense pays off
According to Baseball Savant, Adam Engel ranks in the 77th percentile in terms of outfielder jump, and he ranks in the 100th percentile in sprint speed. Engel’s excellent defensive abilities paid off as he made a tough play to seal the no-hitter.
During Sunday’s 2-1 loss, Luis Robert looked overmatched by Yu Darvish, who was on top of his game. Robert finished 0-for-4 with four strikeouts that day, but tonight was an entirely different story. Robert was the leader in exit velocity in this game, as his fifth inning double left the bat at 111.4 mph. The double was not the only hit for Robert in this game, as he finished 3-for-4.
A crazy streak comes to an end
Heading into tonight’s game, the White Sox had scored their past 20 runs on homers. The all-time MLB record is 23, which is held by the 2013 Twins and 2019 Brewers. Ultimately, the streak came to an end when Adam Engel drove in a run with a groundout to make the score 1-0. Oddly enough, the streak, which illustrates the unbelievable amount of power this team has, ended during a power surge at the stadium.
In the thick of things
The White Sox have won eight of their past nine games, and they now find themselves in the middle of the American League playoff picture. The White Sox’s record now sits at 18-12, and according to FanGraphs, they have a 97.7% chance of ending their playoff drought.
In a surprise to absolutely nobody, with a WPA of +.326, today’s MVP is Lucas Giolito. Nine innings, no runs, no hits, one walk, 13 strikeouts, 101 pitches. His updated stats: 3.09 ERA, 2.67 FIP, 3.09 xFIP. That will work!