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Six Pack of Stats: White Sox 12, Angels 8

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Yermín Mercedes set an MLB record tonight — but was he the MVP?

While tonight was a lot sloppier than Opening Day, the game was mostly just as tight. Goodness prevailed.
FanGraphs

With some welcome offense — hello, southpaws! — the White Sox ran out to an early 7-1 lead, let the lead shrink to 7-6 two innings later, punched the lead back up to 12-6 in the ninth, before a nail-biting finish cropped things off at 12-8.

Oh, José Abreu had a grand slam to initially break the game open, and Yermín Mercedes had the first 5-for-5 game in a first start in major league history.

The Starters

Yesterday, both Lucas Giolito and Dylan Bundy had fine first games. Tonight, Dallas Keuchel and Andrew Heaney did not.

Keuchel was the better of the two starters, with a 30 game score. It was a reversal of fortunes for the No. 2 starter, whose first career White Sox start last summer scored a 57. (In fact, just a single strikeout separated Kid Keuchy from Gio a year ago, in cumulative 2020 game score terms.)

Here was the 69-pitch breakdown for Keuchel:
Sinker: 39%/4 called strikes + 4 whiffs (30%)/87.4 mph avg.
Cutter: 23%/1 called strike + 5 whiffs (38%)/85.4 mph avg.
Changeup: 20%/1 called strike + 4 whiffs (36%)/79.7 mph avg.
Slider: 12%/3 called strikes + 2 whiffs (63%)/77.3 mph avg.
4-seam fastball: 6%/0 called strikes + 0 whiffs (0%)/88.1 mph avg.

Keuchel The ace gave up 11 hard-hit balls (exit velocity 95 mph+).

Heaney will not want to see the White Sox again, ever. He pulled a 21 game score out of his hiney. There were just four worse starts against the White Sox in all of last year’s 60 games.

Here was the 70-pitch breakdown for Heaney:
4-seam fastball: 60%/8 called strikes + 8 whiffs (38%)/93 mph avg.
Changeup: 24%/1 called strike + 1 whiffs (12%)/85 mph avg.
Curveball: 16%/2 called strikes + 2 whiffs (36%)/81.4 mph avg.

Bundy surrendered four hard-hit balls.

Pressure Play

Liam Hendricks came on to relieve in the bottom of the eighth inning, with runners at first and second and the game still just 7-6, Sox. The closer coaxed a fly out from José Iglesias that yielded 4.73 LI. That out dropped the Angels’ WPA by 12.4% and proved how important adding Hendriks is to an already-stout White Sox pen.

Pressure Cooker

Evan Marshall faced just three batters in the game and recorded only two outs, with an intentional walk — but faced massive accumulated pressure, at 3.57 pLI.

Top Play

José Abreu’s grand slam with two outs in the third, White Sox down 1-0, was worth .349 WPA and raised the White Sox’s win expectancy from 41.8% to 76.7%.

Top Performer

It’s not how many you hit, but when you hit them. José Abreu had two hits and a walk in five plate appearances, adding up to .358 WPA. A grand slam to turn the lead in a tight game does, in fact, count as more important than a five-hit game. Least valuable was Heaney, who was just walloped into a -.366 WPA by Chicago’s bloodthirsty right-handed lineup.

Smackdown

What new, for the second time in two games this season, Luis Robert had the hardest-hit ball of the game. This time, it was a line out in the first inning, a 113.6 mph screamer to left. With any launch angle at all, the ball might still be flying.

But it was Shohei Ohtani, with a 108 mph “error”/triple past Abreu in the first and a 106.3 mph home run off of Liam Hendriks in the ninth, who had the two hardest-hit balls in the game — two among the hardest six in the game, in fact.

Poll

Who was the White Sox MVP of Friday’s 12-8 win over the Angels?

This poll is closed

  • 41%
    José Abreu: 2-for-4, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, BB, K, 1.05 pLI, .358 WPA
    (41 votes)
  • 0%
    Liam Hendriks: 1 1⁄3 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, BB, 2 K, HR, save, 0.59 pLI, .157 WPA
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Evan Marshall: 2⁄3 IP, IBB, hold, 3.57 pLI, .119 WPA
    (0 votes)
  • 4%
    Michael Kopech: 2 IP, BB, 3 K, FIRST CAREER WIN, 1.47 pLI, .103 WPA
    (4 votes)
  • 55%
    Yermín Mercedes: 5-for-5, FIRST CAREER HIT, 2B, R, 4 RBI, 0.47 pLI, .102 WPA
    (55 votes)
100 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who was the White Sox Cold Cat of Friday’s 12-8 win over the Angels?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    Dallas Keuchel: 4 IP, 5 H, 6 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 4 K, HR, 0.77 pLI, -.180 WPA
    (16 votes)
  • 81%
    Yoán Moncada: 0-for-5, 5 K, 0.82 pLI, -.102 WPA
    (71 votes)
  • 0%
    Andrew Vaughn: 0-for-3, BB, K, R, 0.84 pLI, -.053 WPA
    (0 votes)
87 votes total Vote Now