The White Sox haven’t been on the losing end of many blowouts this season. On Saturday, the Yankees clinched the weekend series with a 7-0 win, though. It looked to be another pitcher’s duel, until New York broke open the game in the fourth inning. The White Sox (26-18) have a chance tomorrow to avoid the sweep.
Dylan Cease looked dominant through three innings, but everything unraveled once the Yankees started to hit his breaking pitches the second time through the order. His control became shaky, and when he threw in the zone, New York sprayed balls around the outfield (three hard-hit balls) — Cease wasn’t helped by Andrew Vaughn and Leury García taking bad routes to batted balls, either. Cease surrendered five earned runs on five hits, four walks and six strikeouts over a 4 1⁄3-inning start.
To say Cease relied on his slider would be an understatement. Through the first two innings, he threw it 54% of the time to elicit eight whiffs. Cease ended up throwing his slider a season-high 42% of the time (13 whiffs) in the loss. His slider had significantly more spin than usual and was his put-away pitch, as four of Cease’s strikeouts came on that breaking pitch.
Cease has been throwing his 4-seam fastball less often in recent starts, but Saturday marked his least reliance (36%) on that pitch. He possibly could’ve tried to use his fastball more often later in his start as his control wavered, but the Yankees also recorded two hits against his 4-seamer.
He finished with a game score of 39. Here’s a breakdown of Cease’s 91-pitch outing:
Gerrit Cole showed why he’s a perennial Cy Young contender. He didn’t have his normal sharp control early in the game, but he still shut down the White Sox over seven scoreless innings. He gave up four hits, three walks and seven strikeouts — Cole had walked five batters in 57 2⁄3 innings this year. As much as it was Cole missing his spots, it’s also a testament to the White Sox’s improved plate discipline.
Even as the White Sox only struck out twice and had three of their five hard-hit balls during the first four innings, they couldn’t take advantage when getting on base. They grounded into four double plays, which would have been five if not for a Rougned Odor error. And once Cole was given a lead, he found a rhythm, striking out the side in the seventh inning when he reached 100.8 mph velocity on his fastball.
Cole’s pitch mix was similar to his season averages, though only a 27% whiff rate is significantly lower than the 34.9% whiff rate he sports this year. A big part of that is he didn’t have a swing-and-miss with his slider against the White Sox, despite that pitch owning a personal-best 42.2% whiff rate this season.
Cole finished his efficient 95-pitch start with a game score of 75. Here’s his breakdown:
Gleyber Torres came to the plate in the fourth inning with two runners on base and one out. The shortstop drove in the game’s first runs, hitting a double into the left-field gap to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead. His at-bat clocked in at 2.30 LI.
No one faced more pressure than Torres (1.05 pLI). He delivered on multiple chances to drive in runs, finishing 3-for-4 with a double and four RBIs.
Adam Eaton (1.00 pLI) had the most pressure for the White Sox. Eaton went 0-for-3 with a strikeout.
Torres’ two-run double also had a .197 WPA to claim the game’s top play. It was the start of a three-run frame for the Yankees.
Cole was the game’s top performer, with a .292 WPA. He improved to 6-2 with a 1.81 ERA this season.
For the White Sox, Yoán Moncada (.027 WPA) was tops. He finished 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts.
Luckiest hit: Luke Voit singled to left field in the fifth inning on a fly ball that had a .040 xBA. Vaughn started to backtrack before running forward, which let the fly ball fall in front of him.
Toughest out: Tim Anderson robbed Kyle Higashioka of a base hit. He made an athletic play at shortstop to record the first out of the sixth inning. Higashioka smoked the ball at 109.5 mph, as he had a .590 xBA.
Hardest hit: Aaron Judge is strong. His single reached the fence in the eighth inning, which left his bat at 117.4 mph.
Weakest contact: Andrew Vaughn barely made contact in the fifth inning, as he hit a dribbler in front of home plate. Higashioka threw him out, befitting a 37.9 mph squib.
Longest hit: Mike Ford’s homer in the sixth inning traveled 447 feet. It gave the Yankees a 6-0 lead.
Magic Number: 3
The White Sox have scored three runs in the last three games. The offense has gone through its ups and downs this season, so facing Jameson Taillon (5.73 ERA) could help them break out of their slump on Sunday.
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 in their 7-0 loss to the Yankees?
This poll is closed
Tim Anderson: 1-for-3, BB, strong defensive play at SS, .009 WPA
Jose Abreu: 2-for-4, K, .002 WPA
Nick Madrigal: 2-for-3, 3B, .006 WPA
Who was the White Sox Cold Cat in their 7-0 loss to the Yankees?
This poll is closed
Dylan Cease; 4 1/3 IP, 5 ER, 5 H, 6 K, 4 BB, -.162 WPA
Yermín Mercedes: 0-for-4, 2 GIDP, ROE (should’ve been another GIDP), -.131 WPA
Leury García: 0-for-3, 2 K, GIDP, -.094 WPA
Adam Eaton: 0-for-3, K, GIDP, -.085 WPA
Yasmani Grandal: 0-for-3, 2 K, -.046 WPA
South Side Sox Roll Call
pilotsheng easily dispatched the competition in a 220-comment thread today. steely and RSWS fought it out for second.
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It was RSWS and Trooper who earned the only green of the day, with three recs apiece: