Walk-off wins are fun. A little less when it follows a blown save, but still, Nick Madrigal came up clutch with a walk-off double to drive home Luis Robert in the White Sox’s 2-1 win over the Rangers on Saturday.
The White Sox (11-9) remain above .500 for another day. Let’s get the sweep on Sunday.
Dallas Keuchel saved the bullpen from another long day. His most impressive outing of the 2021 season saw him last six-plus innings, holding the Rangers scoreless (thanks, Billy Hamilton!) on seven hits and striking out a pair of batters.
The Rangers played into Keuchel’s strengths, as the White Sox starter had 11 ground outs to limit the hard contact. Keuchel gave up nine-hard hit balls, including five hard-hit balls the first time through the order that made me wonder how he’d fare the rest of the game. The Rangers didn’t nearly hit him as hard through the final 3 1⁄3 innings, with an 87.2 mph average exit velocity as proof. It helped Keuchel pitch around a couple of runners in scoring position. He finished with a game score of 64.
Here’s a look at his 93-pitch outing:
Changeup: 38% | 2 called strikes + 5 whiffs (31%) | 80.4 mph avg.
Sinker: 30% | 6 called strikes + 2 whiffs (14%) | 88.6 mph avg.
Cutter: 24% | 4 called strikes + 2 whiffs (17%) | 86.3 mph avg.
Slider: 6% | 2 called strikes + 1 whiff (100%) | 77.8 mph avg.
4-seam fastball: 2% | 0 called strikes + 0 whiffs | 88.2 mph avg.
Keuchel relied on his changeup more than usual (29.6% season average usage rate), and it resulted in half of his swing-and-misses. And to make his start even better: Keuchel fielded his position really well. Aaron Bummer also started a double play in the eighth inning.
Texas starter Kyle Gibson allowed one runner to reach third base, and from there Yoán Moncada scored on a wild pitch to break the scoreless tie in the sixth inning. It was a fortunate break for the White Sox against a starter who didn’t give them many scoring chances. Gibson retired his first six batters, was helped by a pair of base stealers being thrown out at second base, and only allowed one runner in scoring position before the sixth frame.
He gave up an earned run on six hits and two walks, while striking out five batters. The White Sox had three hits and a walk in the sixth inning. Gibson didn’t have an overpowering arsenal, but his 38% whiff rate (seven whiffs and 64% whiff rate on his slider) and seven ground outs helped him earn a quality start. He had a game score of 62.
Here’s a breakdown of Gibson’s 99-pitch start:
Sinker: 37% | 3 called strikes + 5 whiffs (25%) | 92.4 mph avg.
Slider: 23% | 0 called strikes + 7 whiffs (64%) | 83.5 mph avg.
Cutter: 16% | 4 called strikes + 3 whiffs (60%) | 89.1 mph avg.
Curveball: 10% | 3 called strikes + 2 whiffs (40%) | 78.7 mph avg.}
Changeup: 8% | 1 called strike + 1 whiff (33%) | 84.9 mph avg.
4-seam fastball: 5% | 1 called strike + 0 whiffs | 93.2 mph avg.
The White Sox recorded eight hard-hit balls, culminating in a 90.6 mph average exit velocity. Unlike the Rangers, Chicago started to hit the ball harder as the game progressed, with four hard-hit balls in the fifth and sixth innings.
Fastest pitch: Aaron Bummer owned the 10 fastest pitches. He topped out at 98.7 mph, which Adolis Garcia took for a ball. His sinker averaged 97.9 mph, a 2.2 mph increase from his season average.
Most swing-and-misses: Gibson finished with 18 swing-and-misses. He easily edged Dallas Keuchel, who finished with 10.
Madrigal’s final at-bat had the most pressure. He stepped to the plate with runners on first and second base with two outs, and then drove a slider low in the zone past Joey Gallo in right field to send home the winning run. Madrigal hit the ball at 98 mph, for his second hard-hit ball of the game. The play recorded a 4.36 LI.
There were a lot of high-pressure situations, but Codi Heuer (2.51 pLI) faced the most individual pressure. He allowed two hits and struck out a batter in an inning of work. He was helped by Billy Hamilton’s outfield assist to end the seventh inning that kept the White Sox’s lead intact.
The obvious answer is Madrigal’s walk-off double to right field. It literally won the White Sox the game and had a .389 WPA.
And not just the top play of the White Sox game, but in all of baseball:
Madrigal finished with .336 WPA to earn top performer honors for the White Sox. He finished 1-for-4, with the biggest hit of the game.
However, the Rangers’ Willie Calhoun was the game’s top performer with .382 WPA. He went 2-for-4, including the game-tying homer on a pitch at his shoulders in the ninth.
Luckiest hit: Yoán Moncada narrowly edged Tim Anderson for this honor. His two-out single in the eighth inning had a .080 xBA.
Toughest out: Yasmani Grandal’s fly ball died at the warning track to end the second inning. It came off his bat at 104.3 mph and had a .900 xBA. Grandal clearly thought he sent the ball into the bleachers, as seen with his his bat drop and strut out of the batter’s box. Unfortunately, the 392-foot fly out was Gibson’s sixth consecutive out to start the game.
Hardest hit: Yermín Mercedes hit a 330-foot single to lead off the third inning. It was hit at 112.6 mph, but Garcia played it perfectly off the wall that made Mercedes hold at first base.
Weakest contact: Not including Grandal’s sac bunt (38.1 mph), Jose Trevino grounded out to Anderson to end the sixth inning. His grounder was hit at 47 mph.
Anderson had his fair share of weak contact, too. He grounded out to Gibson in the fourth inning on a high-and-inside sinker near his chest (55.6 mph) and his single in the sixth inning was hit at 54.1 mph and had a .100 xBA.
Longest hit: Calhoun had the game’s only home run. His ninth-inning bomb off Liam Hendriks tied the game, 1-1, as it went 418 feet over the right-center field wall.
Magic Number: 2
The White Sox are now 2-5 when scoring three or fewer runs. Their only other such win came in a 3-2 seven-inning win over the Red Sox during a doubleheader. Chicago is 9-4 when scoring at least four runs.
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
Who was the White Sox MVP in their 2-1 walk-off win over the Rangers on Saturday?
This poll is closed
Dallas Keuchel: 6+ IP, 0 ER, 7 HA, 2 SO, 0.28 WPA
Nick Madrigal: 1-for-4, walk-off 2B, 0.34 WPA
Yoan Moncada: 3-for-4, 0.18 WPA
Codi Heuer: 1 IP, 0 ER, 2 HA, SO, 0.17 WPA
Who was the White Sox Cold Cat during their 2-1 walk-off win over the Rangers on Saturday?
This poll is closed
Liam Hendriks: 1 IP, 1 ER, 1 HA (HR), 2 SO, W, BS, -0.20 WPA
Yasmani Grandal: 0-for-3, SO, -0.11 WPA
Adam Eaton: 0-for-4, -0.09 WPA
Tim Anderson: 1-for-4, -0.07 WPA
South Side Sox Reader Stats
In a 221-comment gamethread, steely3000 crushed the competition:
Only one comment went green tonight, and steely gets the sweep!