Well, that was fun. The White Sox raced out to an early lead in the first inning and never looked back. Then, Nick Madrigal homered. Then, Danny Mendick hit a grand slam. Then, Willians Astudillo pitched, and of course, Yermín Mercedes hit a home run against him. It is nice to be on the winning end of such games. Let’s take a look at the details.
White Sox starter Dallas Keuchel managed to recover from last week’s disappointing outing with a quality start. In seven innings, Keuchel did not issue any walks, he struck out six, and he allowed only three runs (all earned). While Keuchel did allow 11 hard-hit balls, many of them were hit on the ground, making them far less dangerous.
Here is how Keuchel’s 107-pitch performance shaped up:
Things were not as easy for Twins starter J.A. Happ. For the second time in the past week, the White Sox dominated against him. Happ did not last long, as the White Sox got high exit velocities from all parts of the lineup. Many of those hard-hit balls got airborne. As a result, Happ’s line was far from pretty: 3 2⁄3 innings, six runs (all earned), seven hits, three walks, and one strikeout.
Here is a closer look at Happ’s 85-pitch performance:
Due to how one-sided this game became early on, high-leverage situations were hard to come by. However, when Yermín Mercedes batted in the first, there were no outs, and the bases were loaded. This was a golden opportunity for the White Sox to grab a lead, and Mercedes hit a soft grounder, but it found a gap in the Twins’ defense for a single. Just like that, the White Sox had an early lead, and they never looked back. This play had a LI of 2.11, which turned out to be the highest of the game.
Given the White Sox’s big first inning and lack of lead changes, the decisive part of this game was in the top of the first. As a result, on average, Happ was involved in the most important plate appearances of the game. He finished with a pLI of ... 0.81. This is still below the MLB average of 1.00, as this was no average game.
The two-run single by Mercedes takes the cake, as it increased the White Sox’s odds of winning the game by 12% (.120 WPA). Rob Refsnyder’s double came in second place (.091 WPA), while Nick Madrigal’s home run came in third (.083 WPA). Of course, Madrigal’s home run is more memorable than the two plays that finished ahead of it in the WPA rankings.
In terms of WPA, Madrigal takes this award, contributing .202 WPA for the White Sox. Madrigal finished 3-for-5 with a home run, a double, a walk, two RBIs, and three runs scored. This was an outstanding comeback game for Madrigal, who had been slumping in May prior to tonight.
Hardest hit: Surprisingly, the hardest hit ball was hit by a Minnesota Twin, as Trevor Larnach’s eighth inning double left the bat at 116.0 mph. Andrew Vaughn’s third inning double finished a close second, as it had a 114.1 mph exit velocity.
Weakest contact: Danny Mendick’s failed bunt attempt in the fourth only had a 24.4 mph exit velocity, which is slow enough to take this distinction. If we exclude bunts, however, this “award” goes to the ground out by Andrelton Simmons in the third, which had a 57.9 mph exit velocity.
Luckiest hit: That two-run single in the first inning by Mercedes only had a .180 xBA, but it got through for a hit regardless.
Toughest out: The line out by Willians Astudillo in the fourth was not hit that hard (85.5 mph exit velocity), but the launch angle was promising (19 degrees). Balls with that combination fall in for a hit 73% of the time, but this time it was caught by Mendick in right field.
Longest hit: The fly ball that Nelson Cruz hit in the fourth inning traveled 368 feet. However, it was not enough, as Billy Hamilton tracked it down in center field. Tim Anderson’s 362-foot fly out in the second takes the silver medal.
Magic Number: 1
One is Madrigal’s jersey number, the number of career MLB home runs he has, and his ranking of height on the team, in reverse order. He also ranked first in this game in terms of WPA. Regardless of how anyone looks at his performance, this was a heck of a game for the young second baseman.
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 MVP?
This poll is closed
Nick Madrigal: 3-for-5, HR, 2B, BB, 2 RBI, .202 WPA
Yoán Moncada: 2-for-2, 2 BB, RBI, .139 WPA
Yermín Mercedes: 3-for-6, HR, 3 RBI, .068 WPA
Danny Mendick: 1-for-4, Grand Slam, 5 RBI
Dallas Keuchel: 7 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 0 BB, 6 K, .094 WPA
Who was the White Sox Cold Cat?
This poll is closed
José Ruiz: 1 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 1 K
Zack Collins: 0-for-1
Jake Lamb: 0-for-2
South Side Sox Roll Call
The fight for the win in this 258-comment gamethread was more fierce than the fight Minnesota put up in the game tonight. AnoHito prevailed, in a more lively thread than what we’d seen over the weekend.
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And there was green, glorious green tonight as well. Appropriately, it was wissoxfan83 with a crowd-pleasing sentiment — OK, pandering, perhaps — that won the day, with five.
Hey, sometimes a little rec-whoring wins the day!