The White Sox had a pattern all weekend long of close contests vs. the Orioles (who pitched FAR better than advertised, well done Brownies), only to come through in the latter third of games with the winning or insurance runs to seal the deal. For the first time in 65 years, the club swept Baltimore in Chicago, and that’s saying something given the long and unfortunate history the White Sox seem to have against the Orioles. Let’s break down the fourth in a series.
My my, Lucas Giolito is back. Not that he ever really left, but mmm mmm, he is chucking it as we enter the middle third of the season. The ace went seven innings, giving up just one earned run (a homer), three hits, three walks, and 12 strikeouts. His game score was a very solid 73.
Don’t pay too much attention to the velo below, but look at that spin. Giolito’s slider — a release-point correction made a couple of games or so ago — is back, so watch out, AL. Here’s his 108-pitch breakdown:
Keegan Akin didn’t overwhelm in his first career start, but he limited damage to just one earned run, so the effort was a success, for sure. Over 4 2⁄3 innings, Akin gave up five hits and two walks against four Ks. Like Giolito, his sole misstep was a solo homer, as Billy Hamilton has found his power stroke.
Akin may have sacrifice pitch crispness to shoulder a longer load that usual in this game, because nothing from his 94-pitch, 49-game score start leaps out as impressive:
Giolito induced 28 swing-and-misses in the game, more than double Akin’s 13. In fact, ever other pitcher in the game accumulated just 20 swing-and-misses.
There were just two hard-hit balls off of Giolito, five off of Akin. Baltimore had just three hard-hit balls in the entire game.
With the bases full in a 1-1 game, Lucas Giolito got Makiel Franco to pop a 1-2 changeup out to Zack Collins, 4.26 LI pressure that was tops in the game.
It may have been in part his own doing, but Adam Plutko faced the greatest pressure in the game (2.50 pLI), and lived to tell the tale. He entered the game and walked José Abreu in the fifth inning, filling the bases, but then got Yermín Mercedes to ground out and end the White Sox threat. Plutko started the sixth with a strikeout of Andrew Vaughn before hanging his glove up for the game.
Billy Hamilton’s solo homer in the bottom of the third, tying the game 1-1, was worth .123 WPA — .004 more than D.J. Stewart’s homer in the top of the inning.
In a game without a lot of overwhelming offensive outputs, Lucas Giolito cruised as tops in the game, with a .315 WPA over his seven innings. No one else was close.
Hardest hit: Yoán Moncada kilt a seventh-inning single (111.3 mph) to center off of Dillon Tate, bringing in the final run of the game. The hit was 7.5 mph harder than any other ball in the game.
Weakest contact: That key pressure point of the game, Franco’s weak pop out to end the sixth? It was also the game’s weakest non-bunt contact, at just 54.3 mph. Trey Mancini had a pop out against Giolito that was nearly as soft, so the White Sox ace was frustrating some O’s today.
Luckiest hit: With two outs in the third, with the White Sox already having tied the game with a ... is this right? ... Billy Hamilton homer ... Moncada tapped a soft grounder to first for an infield hit, carrying a .110 xBA. At. 71.5 mph, Moncada takes honors for hardest and softest hits of Sunday’s game.
Toughest out: Again as referenced above, Adam Plutko dug out a hole with the sacks packed in the fifth by inducing a fielder’s choice from Yermín Mercedes to escape — but it wasn’t a cheapie. Mercedes crushed that grounder to short at 102.8 mph, a ball that carried an .860 xBA.
Longest hit: Neither of the homers in Sunday’s game were the longest hits. Instead, mini-mite Nick Madrigal, in a category you definitely thought he’d never win once, takes the prize, as his first-inning fly out to the power alley in left-center traveled 387 feet (and had a .590 xBA, so the screamer was well played by center fielder Cedric Mullins.
Magic Number: 7.71
Jimmy Lambert, by merit or turn in the rotation, comes up from Charlotte tomorrow as the 27th man for the doubleheader in Cleveland, starting one of the contests. Lambert had a strong showing in 2020 Summer Camp and made his MLB debut, briefly, before forearm soreness shut him down for the year. In five Knights starts this season, Lambert has a 7.71 ERA and is averaging just 2 1⁄3 innings. So this is an opener situation, with Michael Kopech potentially taking the lion’s share of innings if activated off of the bereavement list on Monday.
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 Sunday’s 3-1 triumph over Baltimore?
This poll is closed
Lucas Giolito: 7 IP, 3 H, ER, HR, 3 BB, 12 K, WP, WIN, .315 WPA
Tim Anderson: 2-for-4, game-winning run, SB, .163 WPA
Nick Madrigal: 2-for-4, R, GWRBI, 3B, .169 WPA
Who was the White Sox Cold Cat in Sunday’s 3-1 triumph over Baltimore?
This poll is closed
Yermín Mercedes: 0-for-4, 6 LOB, bad-luck fielder’s choice to end the sixth, -.170 WPA
Andrew Vaughn: 0-for-3, K, BB, LOB, -.058 WPA
Zack Collins: 0-for-3, BB, 3 K, 2 LOB, -.044 WPA
Yoán Moncada: 2-for-4, RBI, 2 K, 2 LOB, -058 WPA
Leury García: 0-for-3, BB, K, -.029 WPA
South Side Sox Roll Call
Who says a light gamethread day can’t still force a fierce battle for the win? steely3000 made a 137-comment game count, eking past AnoHito:
|11||Mark P. Liptak||2|
Another stingy green day, with a shutout for SSS and just six comments rec’d of 137:
That’s some pretty weak recWAR, SSS.