Starting pitching depth was a key concern among White Sox fans (myself included) this past offseason. Ultimately, the decision to bring back Carlos Rodón was a disappointing one for many. However, if Rodón performs as he did tonight, and he manages to stay healthy, his one year, $3 million deal will turn out to be a big-time bargain.
The White Sox used big performances from Rodón, the bullpen (Michael Kopech and José Ruiz), Yasmani Grandal and of course, Yermín Mercedes, to win tonight’s matchup, 6-0.
Carlos Rodón got through five innings, and although there were a couple of hiccups, he allowed zero runs. As a result, it is tough to be unhappy about Rodón’s performance, as he put the White Sox in a great position to win. In five innings, Rodón allowed two hits, he issued three walks, and he struck out nine, ending with a White Sox season-best 69 game score.
Here was the 95-pitch breakdown for Rodón:
4-seam fastball: 61%/10 called strikes + 9 whiffs (31%)/98.4 mph avg.
Slider: 33%/3 called strikes + 9 whiffs (75%)/89.2 mph avg.
Changeup: 6%/1 called strike + 1 whiff (50%)/86.8 mph avg.
Rodón gave up only two hard-hit balls (exit velocity 95 mph+), the lowest by any Sox starter this year.
On the other side, as many left-handed starters do, Justus Sheffield struggled immensely against the White Sox. Like Rodón, Sheffield lasted five innings, but that is where the similarities end. Sheffield allowed six runs (four earned) on eight hits, he issued two walks, and he struck out five. That gave him a 31 game score, creating the biggest spread between starters in a White Sox game so far this season.
Here was the 92-pitch breakdown for Sheffield:
4-seam fastball: 50%/13 called strikes + 1 whiff (6%)/94.4 mph avg.
Slider: 34%/1 called strike + 7 whiffs (50%)/83.5 mph avg.
Changeup: 16%/0 called strikes + 1 whiff (13%)/88.3 mph avg.
Sheffield allowed nine hard-hit balls, so it is no surprise to see how well the White Sox fared.
With the bases loaded and one out in the fourth, Sam Haggerty stepped up to the plate with an excellent opportunity to cut into the White Sox’s 4-0 lead. In fact, this plate appearance turned out to be the biggest pressure play of the game (2.75 LI). However, Haggerty hit a harmless grounder to third, and Yoán Moncada threw home to get the force out for the second out. Rodón did the rest by striking out J.P. Crawford to end the inning.
As the White Sox jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, no players racked up a pLI that was very high. However, Rodón had the highest among White Sox players (1.14). Rodón handled the pressure very nicely, working out of multiple difficult situations and keeping the Mariners off the board.
Mariners shortstop J.P. Crawford had a pLI of 1.42, highest in the game for either side. Crawford’s highest-leverage opportunity came with the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth, and he struck out against Rodón.
The outcome of this game was not in question for long, so the most important play of this game happened early on. Yasmani Grandal’s solo home run in the top of the second boosted the White Sox’s odds of winning the game by 10.4 percentage points (.104 WPA). It was Grandal’s first home run of the season, it gave the White Sox a 1-0 lead, and they never looked back.
In terms of win probability added (WPA), Carlos Rodón takes the cake tonight, with +.221. Yasmani Grandal was a close second as a result of his solo homer and two-run single that wrapped up all scoring. Grandal finished with +.196 WPA, which is quite a bit considering how many at-bats in this game occurred in low-leverage situations.
There was only one home run in this game, and it was a solo blast by Yasmani Grandal. That one was very well-struck, as it had an exit velocity of 107.0 mph. However, it was not enough to claim the award for hardest-hit ball of the game. That distinction goes to the double by Yermín Mercedes (112.2 mph exit velocity). Somehow, The Yermínator just keeps mashing the ball, as his slash line now sits at .667/.684/1.000.
Who was the White Sox MVP in Monday’s 6-0 win over the Mariners?
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Carlos Rodón: 5 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 3 BB, 9 K
Yermín Mercedes: 3-for-4, 2B, BB
Yasmani Grandal: 2-for-4, HR, 3 RBI
Who was the White Sox Cold Cat in Monday’s 6-0 win over the Mariners?
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Nick Madrigal: 0-for-4, BB, borderline error
Luis Robert: 0-for-4, BB, K
Andrew Vaughn: 0-for-3, HBP, RBI