The night got off to a rough start when server/platform/system issues (I’m not a techie, forgive the ignorance) derailed the rollout of the gamethread. Resourceful bunch, SSS just rocking the end of the last story until the gamethread proper came out the other end of the meat grinder. Wistfully, I hoped delaying publication of a gamethread could become the latest pair of lucky Steve Stone socks, which we here could parlay into a four-game run to a division title.
Ricky Renteria had other ideas.
I pray I'm wrong, but I really really really don't like this.— Brett Ballantini (@BrettBallantini) September 25, 2020
Ricky, prove me wrong.
sweet hell baseball is brutal— Brett Ballantini (@BrettBallantini) September 25, 2020
ha ha the fuck is going on, after bringing in a guy off injury to relieve for the first time in his life, bases jacked, mega-leverage, now we're told "José Ruiz is warming up in the bullpen?"— Brett Ballantini (@BrettBallantini) September 25, 2020
please please someone put my hand in water so I can pee the bed and wake up outta this
Jarrod Dyson bats for himself to open up the eighth!— Brett Ballantini (@BrettBallantini) September 25, 2020
When even Jason Benetti, who never met an instant replay call he couldn't see favorably for the White Sox, is like, "I would have expected to see Aaron Bummer in the high-leverage situation, we've got a problem.— Brett Ballantini (@BrettBallantini) September 25, 2020
Tonight has been a pick-up-stix of managerial decisions late.— Brett Ballantini (@BrettBallantini) September 25, 2020
(I don’t tweet, sorry if this is too much sloughing off on another writer, but Brett’s my guy, he got me here.)
I think the above seventh-eighth meltdown is a sufficient straight recap. Let’s see what FanGraphs has to say:
Dallas Keuchel was downright masterful tonight, outpitching White Sox nemesis Zach Plesac, 64-57. Kid Keuchy’s effort put him in a virtual tie with Lucas Giolito for the season: In 12 starts, Giolito spun a 60.33 game score, Keuchel over 11 starts a 60.27. If Keuchel had as little as one more strikeout this season, he would have passed Lucas. There’s no way you can say Keuchel hasn’t been better than advertised in this short season.
Plesac, by the way, falls to an average 66 game score over three starts, still by far the best average vs. Chicago this season.
In the bottom of the seventh, in what would be Jimmy Cordero’s last batter of the game, he faced Francisco Lindor with the sacks packed — and got behind him, 3-0. At 3-1, Lindor bit and popped a weak fly out to left field for the second out. Cordero had wriggled out of 4.11 LI pressure and dropped Cleveland’s win expectancy down from a tepid 29.7% to a scant 19.1%.
Mike Freeman pinch-hit with nobody out and runners on first and second in the seventh inning, facing 2.96 pLI pressure, and proceeded to bloop a pop single just out of the reach of shortstop Tim Anderson. Loading the bases for Cleveland upped the Wahoos’ win expectancy from 28.7% to 40.0%.
José Ramírez’s double to left-center that brought home the fourth and fifth Cleveland runs was a .373 WPA play, upping Cleveland’s win probability from 38.7% to 75.9%.
Not sure I’ve seen this in a long time, but Cleveland’s No. 2 and 3 hitters weren’t just 1-2 in WPA tonight, but boasted massive numbers, thanks to their key hits in the seventh inning. Ramírez, with his eventual game-winning double, out paced teammate Cesar Hernández and his lead-slicing single, .348 WPA to .340. Finishing third was Keuchel, at .176. Carlos Rodón? He clocked in at -.533 WPA, an atrocious figure.
Magic Number: 28.6
Now a full game (and loss) behind the Twins, the White Sox see their division title chances drop to 28.6%.