Breathe in, breathe out. That’s better. Tonight, the White Sox played a baseball match against that team from Cleveland, to a blazing 8-5 victory on this hallowed 4/20.
Tonight’s writeup will hopefully keep you nice and mellow; think of it more like a six pack of CBD seltzers. Easy, bubbly, smooth. You may not be able to feel it at times, but it’s somehow working, which might be the best metaphor for the White Sox to date.
Carlos Rodón, recently named AL Player of the Week, was still riding the high from last Wednesday’s no-hitter, against the same team he blanked last week. It was a chilly evening in Cleveland tonight, which can affect velocity; Rodón is known to crank up the velocity in later innings, and that appeared to be the case tonight. Rodón hit 97.1 mph in the fifth inning, his last frame of the evening. His velocity and spin rates were lower than his yearly average across the board, likely affected by the weather.
Some issues with command dusted this performance, evident in five walks. Regardless of all this, Carlos’s outing was still effective: the fastball was thrown 60 times, and received 11 called strikes and 11 whiffs, for a CSW% (called strikes and whiffs) of 37%. Hard Karl gave us five strong innings, giving up two runs (one earned) off three hits, and striking out eight.
Rodón gave up six hard-hit balls in his five innings, and chased his incredible, 101 game score no-hitter with a 53 game score win tonight.
Here’s the breakdown of Rodón’s 110-pitch outing:
4-seam fastball: 55% | 11 called strikes + 11 whiffs (37%) | 94.5 mph avg.
Slider: 33% | 4 called strikes + 6 whiffs (28%) | 84.9 mph avg.
Changeup: 12% | 2 called strikes + 1 whiff (23%) | 85.4 mph avg.
Curveball: 1% | 0 called strikes + 0 whiffs (0%) | 75.5 mph avg.
Zach Plesac did not go gently into that good night, as his horrendous (for him) start last week saw him act as a foil to the Rodón no hitter, where he couldn’t even escape the first inning, giving up six runs off seven hits. Tonight, Plesac retired the top of the White Sox order seamlessly, and seems to have taken last week as a learning experience. While we at South Side Sox appreciate growth no matter what team you play for, the White Sox initiated nipping at Plesac’s heels with a third inning Luis Robert double followed by some heads-up baserunning, culminating with a Tim Anderson solo shot. Spaghetti, anyone?
Plesac is known for his slider, which isn’t much to write home about lately. He finished tonight with a nearly identical line as last week, just with more innings pitched: Over five innings, he gave up six earned runs off seven hits, walking none and striking out four. Though not as bad as his effort in Chicago last week, it’s a pretty putrid 30 game score. Unsurprisingly, nine balls were hard-hit offa Zach.
Here’s the breakdown of Plesac’s 92-pitch outing:
4-seam fastball: 30% | 7 called strikes + 1 whiff (29%) | 92.3 mph avg.
Slider: 26% | 2 called strikes + 5 whiffs (29%) | 87.1 mph avg.
Changeup: 25% | 3 called strikes + 2 whiffs (22%) | 85.0 mph avg.
Curveball: 18% | 1 called strike + 4 whiffs (29%) | 80.3 mph avg.
In the Instant Pot for tonight was none other than the man on the mound, Carlos Rodón, at 1.55 pLI. The fourth inning gave Carlos some work to do, as two Cleveland runners reached base on a throwing error by Nick Madrigal, followed by a catcher’s interference by Yasmani Grandal. The toe-hitter from last week, Roberto Pérez, worked Rodon to a full count just to get a free pass, loading the bases. Hard Karl then emerged from within the depths of Rodon, and he got out of the jam by striking out Yu Chang, Jordan Luplow.
In that fourth, Cesar Hernández singled, but Josh Naylor was thrown out at home by Yoán Moncada. FanGraphs marked this play as having a LI (leverage index) of 3.71. Yeesh!
FanGraphs marks Moncada’s RBI double off Zach Plesac in the sixth inning as the top play, giving it a WPA of .128. Moncada’s double not only scored Adam Eaton who singled prior, but it also set the table for José Abreu to single immediately after, driving Moncada home.
José Abreu was tonight’s pick that was clicked in going 3-for-4, including his two monster ding-dong slammeroos. He also singled once, because we have to mention that too, and because he’s an RBI guy, tonight he added three RBI to his total for this season. WPA: .158
The hardest hit ball by any White Sox this year was Jose Abreu’s fourth inning solo shot off Zach Plesac, clocked at 115.6 mph. While we’re at it, here are some of the other exit velocity leaders this season: Luis Robert at 113.6 (a line out) and Yermín Mercedes with a 113.3 mph home run on April 8 off Brad Keller.
Luckiest hit: Luis Robert’s fifth-inning single to second base had a .120 xBA.
Toughest out: José Ramírez’s first-inning line out to third base was scorched at 96.6 mph, for an .870 xBA; he just can’t catch a break against Carlos Rodón.
Weakest contact: Aside from one bunt in the game, it was Nick Madrigal’s 45.9 mph dribbler to first that takes the crown.
Longest hit: Abreu’s first homer, the one in the fourth that was cracked at the top EV all season for the Sox, was the longest ball hit tonight, at 458 feet.
Magic Number: 4
The White Sox came into today with less than a homer per game in 2021, but the White Sox packed a bowl full of dingers tonight — four homers all told, two by reigning AL MVP José Abreu, the others by Tim Anderson and Yasmani Grandal. The White Sox have a tendency to win in games in which at least one home run is hit. They’re currently 3-2 on this road trip, why not make it 4-2 tomorrow? Light it up!
LI measures pressure per play
pLI measures total pressure faced in game
Whiff a swing-and-miss
WPA win probability added measures contributions to the win
xBA expected batting average
So, who lit it up the best tonight?
This poll is closed
José Abreu: 3-for-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, 0.64 pLI .158 WPA
Carlos Rodón: 5 IP, 3 H, HR, ER, 5 BB, 8 K, WP, W, 1.55 pLI, .081 WPA
Yoán Moncada: 1-for-5, R, RBI, 2B, 3 K, 0.60 pLI, .091 WPA
Luis Robert: 3-for-4, R, K, 2B, SB, 0.68 pLI, .125 WPA
Who needs to work on their grinding a little more?
This poll is closed
Nick Madrigal: 0-for-3, RBI, BB, 0.80 pLI, -.017 WPA
Yasmani Grandal: 1-for-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, 2 CI, PB, 0-for-1 CS, 0.36 pLI, .064 WPA
Leury García: 0-for-2, K, 0.36 pLI, -.017 WPA
Codi Heuer: 1 1⁄3 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, K, H, 0.56 pLI, .063 WPA
South Side Sox Reader Stats
Of 297 comments, it was AnoHito back on top, with authority:
Tops in the green was this six-rec response from KP: