The Chicago White Sox faced the Minnesota Twins for the first time this season, and things went well for the South Siders. Though the Twins got off to an early lead, the White Sox did not stay behind for long. The offense poured it on in the latter portion of the game, and the bullpen pitched four shutout innings to preserve the lead.
Let’s break down tonight’s victory.
Dylan Cease found himself in an early hole after a rough top of the second on the mound. The righthander retired the first four he faced, but Jorge Polanco crushed a fastball down the middle to give the Twins a 1-0 lead. The next four Twins reached base safely, as well, resulting in another run, and the bases were still loaded. After a sacrifice fly, the Twins had a third run. However, a nice play ended the inning, as Adam Eaton, Nick Madrigal, and Yoán Moncada teamed up to retire Andrelton Simmons, who failed to advance to third safely.
Those three runs in the second turned out to be the only scoring for the Twins in the game. Cease continued his trend of being able to get swings-and-misses, as he had 20 of those in his five innings of work. For the remainder of Cease’s time on the mound, the Twins struggled to put runners in scoring position, and when they did, the youngster managed to pitch out of trouble. His final line: five innings, five hits, three runs (all earned), two walks, and seven strikeouts.
Here is how Cease’s 97-pitch outing looked:
Like Cease, Twins starter Kenta Maeda went five innings and allowed three runs. All three runs were earned, and all of them were allowed in the second inning, oddly enough. Maeda struggled to control his slider, which has historically been his best pitch throughout his professional career. His biggest mistake, however, came on a splitter to former battery mate Yasmani Grandal, who caught Maeda when the pair played for the Dodgers. Grandal’s three-run homer tied the game 3-3, and the score remained the same until after Maeda and Cease left the game. Maeda’s final line: five innings, three runs (all earned), four hits, two walks, and three strikeouts.
Maeda’s 87-pitch performance turned out this way:
In the top of the seventh, Aaron Bummer faced Willians Astudillo with the bases loaded and two outs. Bummer was attempting to preserve a 5-3 lead, and the leverage index (LI) was the highest of the game (4.66). Fortunately, Bummer came out on top during this at-bat, as he got Astudillo to ground out to shortstop. Tim Anderson’s throw was slightly off-target, but José Abreu tracked it down and tagged out Astudillo.
Garrett Crochet (2.81 pLI) only faced two batters, but those at-bats were a crucial with regards to how this game shaped up. Crochet inherited runners on the corners with one out, and when he entered, it was a tie game in the top of the sixth. It was a precarious situation, but Crochet got Mitch Garver to fly out to shallow right for the second out. Then, a masterful job of pitching resulted in a strikeout of Luis Arráez, who has only struck out 53 times in 595 career plate appearances. That ended the inning, the White Sox grabbed the lead in the bottom of the sixth, and they never looked back.
José Abreu’s go-ahead home run in the bottom of the sixth was the biggest play of the game in terms of wins probability added. With the game tied at three, Abreu launched his seventh home run of the season. Yoán Moncada was on base, so this was a two-run shot, giving the White Sox a 5-3 lead.
Yasmani Grandal’s three-run homer in the bottom of the second was a close second in terms of WPA (.210).
Largely thanks to his home run, Abreu takes this honor due to his .289 WPA. Honorable mention goes to Crochet, whose sixth inning relief performance was enough to result in .177 WPA.
Hardest hit: Surprisingly, the hardest hit came from a Twins player. Nelson Cruz’s third inning ground out was hit at 111.8 mph. Luckily for the White Sox, the launch angle was -8 degrees, resulting in an xBA of only .320, and in this case, an out.
Weakest contact: In the sixth inning, Leury García’s sacrifice bunt left the bat at only 29.9 mph. Excluding that bunt, the softest contact came from Luis Arráez, who hit a 66.4 mph ground out in the eighth.
Luckiest hit: García’s eighth inning single was sharply-hit (96.6 mph exit velocity), but it was beaten into the ground (-18 degree launch angle). As a result, it only had a .230 xBA, but it got through for a hit anyway.
Toughest out: Moncada lined into an unlucky double play in the bottom of the first. His line drive left the bat at 102.9 mph, and it had a 10-degree launch angle. That results in a hit 86% of the time, but this was one of those rare situations where it did not land safely.
Longest hit: Abreu’s home run traveled 414 feet, which was enough to take the cake for this distinction. Grandal came in second with his 401-foot home run. Abreu also nearly homered in the third, as he was robbed at the wall by Max Kepler for a 388-foot fly out.
Magic Number: 59
The White Sox found a way to bury another team today, which is a sign of a strong team. Through 33 games, the White Sox are 20-13, and they have a +59 run differential, which is tops in the majors. The Astros are second in the AL (+36), and Cleveland is in second among AL Central teams (+16). The White Sox’s run differential is on pace to finish at +290, which would be historically great, projecting to a 110-52 record. If they finish even with half that run differential, it will be an extremely fun summer.
Hard-hit is any ball off the bat at 95 mph or more
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’s MVP during Tuesday night’s win over the Twins?
This poll is closed
José Abreu: 2-for-3, HBP, HR, 2 RBI, .289 WPA
Yasmani Grandal: 1-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, .160 WPA
Yermín Mercedes: 2-for-3, BB, .049 WPA
Garrett Crochet: 2⁄3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K, stranded both inherited runners, .177 WPA
Who was the White Sox’s Cold Cat during Tuesday night’s win over the Twins?
This poll is closed
Matt Foster: 1⁄3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, -.103 WPA
Yoán Moncada: 0-for-3, BB, -.036 WPA
Nick Madrigal: 1-for-4, RBI, fielding error, -.084 WPA
South Side Sox Gamethread Stats
In a 188-comment night, Pointerbabe breaks through for a win.
Uribe Down killed it with six recs, far outpacing the field with a post-homer comment on recent social media controversies.
Apologies for the Six Pack delay. This copy was submitted ~11:30 p.m. CT, just as the mothership made the curious decision to undergo scheduled maintenance.