The White Sox looked like they were going to blow open the game early, but never did in a 4-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. Tommy Edman’s power bat proved to be the difference, but the White Sox (28-20) also couldn’t hit with runners on base.
Carlos Rodón suffered the loss, but undeservingly so after six spectacular innings. He recorded his third double-digit strikeout game of the year, reaching back to hit 100 mph on his final pitch, which doubled as his 10th strikeout. Other than a Tommy Edman solo home run, the Cardinals never threatened to score against him. Their only other base runners came on a pair of hit batsmen. Still, Rodón’s ERA slightly rose, to 1.29 — which is more telling of how dominant he’s been this year — as he’s allowed one or fewer runs in seven of eight starts this year.
Edman homered on Rodón’s changeup, fitting considering the Cardinals couldn’t touch his 4-seam fastball or slider. Rodón had five strikeouts with each pitch. He relied on his fastball more often on Wednesday, and it worked as he recorded 16 whiffs. Rodón finished with a 44% whiff rate, and allowed just two hard-hit balls — Edman’s home run and a routine ground out.
Rodon’s game score was 75, after a 94-pitch outing.
John Gant entered Wednesday with a wide discrepancy between his ERA (2.04) and FIP (4.12), and it’s easy to see why. The White Sox had runners on base in four of the first five innings, but stranded eight runners to be held scoreless during his five innings. Gant’s wild control (61.7 strike percentage) once again didn’t hurt him, as he allowed five hits, three walks and struck out three batters over five shutout frames. He left in the sixth inning, after Andrew Vaughn reached on an error.
The White Sox made solid contact (five hard-hit balls) and rarely swung-and-missed (15% whiff rate), but Gant worked around multiple jams. Whether it was Adam Eaton being thrown out at home, bunting over two runners but failing to score, or not having two-out success at the plate, the White Sox failed to find the game-changing hit that was possible in almost every inning.
They had two hits against his sinker — Gant’s most used pitch — but also two strikeouts. Gant used his slider nearly twice as often as usual, and while the White Sox never swung through it, they struggled to make solid contact (65 mph average exit velocity).
Gant finished with a game score of 57 during his 94-pitch start.
José Abreu stepped to the plate with runners on first and second base and one out in the seventh inning. St. Louis reliever Giovanny Gallegos entered the game, with the Cardinals leading 1-0, and then proceeded to strike out Abreu on a slider low and outside. Abreu’s at-bat clocked in at 4.14 LI.
No one faced more individual pressure than Yermín Mercedes (3.07 pLI), who constantly found himself at the plate with runners on base. He finished 0-for-4 with a strikeout, and personally stranded 10 batters.
Tommy Edman’s two home runs were the biggest plays of the game. His eighth-inning solo shot off of Aaron Bummer (.136 WPA) slightly beat out his third-inning blast (.121 WPA).
Despite a pair of homers, Edman was beat out by Gallegos (.275 WPA) for the game’s top performer. Gallegos struck out three batters in 1 2⁄3 innings for the Cardinals.
Nick Madrigal (.190 WPA) was the White Sox’s top player. He finished 3-for-4 with a walk. It’s his second straight three-hit game.
Luckiest hit: Nolan Arenado hit a double into the right-field corner off of José Ruiz in the ninth inning despite it carrying just a .220 xBA.
Toughest out: Justin Williams shot a ball into center field, but Billy Hamilton made a nice play to make the final out of the ninth inning and prevent another run to come home. Williams had a .770 xBA.
Hardest hit: Edman took advantage of a changeup down the middle in the third inning. He smacked a home run to left field at 112.5 mph.
Weakest contact: Williams also had the weakest contact, on a ground out to Bummer in the eighth inning, hitting it 44.3 mph. The White Sox had multiple bunts with lower exit velocities.
White Sox sac bunts— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) May 26, 2021
Last season: 1
Longest hit: Edman’s first homer to put the Cardinals up 1-0 early traveled 436 feet. It narrowly edged his second bomb, of 430 feet.
Magic Number: 23
How did Rodón respond to his worst start of the season against the Royals? By striking out 23 batters over his last two starts. Still, the White Sox are 0-2 in his last two outings, with a 2-1 loss to the Yankees and today’s 4-0 defeat.
Carlos Rodón is the second pitcher in #WhiteSox history with 10+ K and no walks in consecutive starts.— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) May 26, 2021
The other was Lance Lynn earlier this season (Apr 8 & 15)
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 of the series-finale loss to the Cardinals?
This poll is closed
Carlos Rodón: 6 IP, ER, H, 10 K, HR, HBP, .188 WPA
Nick Madrigal: 3-for-4, BB, .190 WPA
Michael Kopech: IP, BB, .055 WPA
Who was the White Sox Cold Cat of the series-finale loss to the Cardinals?
This poll is closed
Yermín Mercedes: 0-for-4, K, 10 LOB, -.392 WPA
José Ruiz: IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 2 K, BB, -.055 WPA
Aaron Bummer: IP, ER, HR, 2 K, -.090 WPA
Adam Eaton: 0-for-1, BB, thrown out at home, -.016 WPA
Zack Collins: 0-for-3, sac bunt, -.095 WPA
South Side Sox Roll Call
AnoHito found himself back in the catbird seat today, as our most active (49 of 226 comments) reader.
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Another no-green day, but we had several near-misses: