In a game that resulted in a roller coaster of emotions for fans, the White Sox lost in heartbreaking fashion. José Ramírez launched a three-run homer to walk it off in the bottom of the 10th, but not everything about this game was bad. Let’s take a look:
Play of the game
In terms of win probability added (WPA), in a surprise to absolutely no one, the walk-off home run by José Ramírez in the 10th inning was the most important play of the game. The three-run homer, which occurred with two outs in the 10th, had a WPA of +.712 for Cleveland.
Limiting sharp contact
The inability to limit sharp contact has been an issue for Reynaldo López, and that trend continued in the first inning. The second batter against López was César Hernández, who launched a long home run to give Cleveland an early 1-0 lead. However, López recovered, and he managed to finish strong. As the game went on, Cleveland struggled to square up López’s pitches. As a result, López completed five innings, only allowing one run on three hits. Aside from Hernández’s home run, blemishes were hard to come by.
José Abreu for the White Sox, Ramírez for Cleveland. The two sluggers are among the best players in the game, and they both displayed their power tonight. Sure, Ramírez hit the high-leverage one for his 17th of the season, but Abreu tied the game in the sixth with his 19th homer of the short season.
Young relievers are lights out
Codi Heuer was terrific in his two innings of work, only allowing one baserunner. Franmil Reyes, who singled on a ball that had an expecting batting average of .060, was the only one to reach against Heuer. Garrett Crochet, who came on in relief of Heuer, was also dominant. With a fastball that topped out at 101.5 mph, Crochet easily kept Cleveland scoreless in the eighth.
José Ruiz was not lights out
In an extremely high-leverage situation, the White Sox turned to José Ruiz. The game was on the line. The White Sox had a 3-2 lead with two outs in the 10th, but Cleveland had two runners on base. Ramírez, who entered play with excellent numbers (156 wRC+), stepped up to the plate. Ruiz entered play with a 4.93 ERA and 4.97 FIP in only 49 1⁄3 career big league innings. So, naturally, it is easy to wonder why Ruiz was the one to face Ramírez.
With a WPA of +.745, for obvious reasons, Ramírez is today’s MVP. Honorable mention goes to Adam Engel, whose go-ahead RBI triple in the top of the 10th was significant enough to give him a WPA of +.260 for the game.