Dane Dunning was bound to have a rough start, and when your worst starts are “rough” vs. “awful,” you’re doing something right. But unfortunately, three batters into the game the rookie left a 3-1 fastball cut enough of the plate to have molten lava-hot slugger José Ramírez deal it significant damage for a 3-0 lead — nearly enough alone for Cleveland to win tonight.
Eloy Jiménez had a fabulous (and multi-hit) game despite giving us a scare legging out an infield hit when he tweaked his knee on a large stride to first base. Both he and catcher Yasmani Grandal got nicked up, but neither injury seems enough to sideline them.
Cal Quantrill makes his first start for Cleveland tomorrow, as Shane Bieber and Zach Plesac are getting pushed back to line up for the playoffs — as of right now, a rematch next week with the White Sox.
This was Dunning’s worst start with the White Sox, a 37 game score — in the tight race atop the rotation, today was enough to see him fall from first to third among all Chicago starters, now at 56.8, behind Lucas Giolito (60.3) and Dallas Keuchel (59.9).
Aaron Civale’s third start against the White Sox this year yielded his worst of the three, as he chased a 57 and 72 (third-best against the White Sox this year) with a 42, courtesy of a mess of fifth-inning offense from Chicago.
SSS’s favorite designated hitter, Edwin Encarnación, faced massive, 2.64 LI pressure with the bases full with two outs in the top of the first — and grounded out to shortstop. The out drove Chicago’s win expectancy down from 51.9% to 44.8%.
James McCann subbed in for the injured Grandal and found himself in a game-changing at-bat, as the tying run with two on and one out in the ninth. McCann faced 2.32 pLI pressure, battled hard against closer Brad Hand, and ultimately was punched out on a questionable backdoor breaking pitch.
Jiménez’s homer to tie the game 4-4 in the fifth was not only the juiciest WPA play of the game (.212), it raised his team’s win expectancy from 23.2% to 44.5%.
At 3-for-4 with a game-tying, two-run homer, Jiménez was the game MVP with .259 WPA. He also had a sliding catch in left field, all after tweaking his knee and laboring a bit the rest of the game. To wit, the Big Baby winced as he crosses home after his round-tripper:
Magic Number: 82.2
With Minny idle and the White Sox losing, the magic number to clinch the division stalls at 4. FanGraphs puts the odds of a South Side division championship at 82.2%.