Indeed, Yasmani Grandal does not suck.
On Wednesday, he was the White Sox hero, driving a slider to the right-field fence for a walk-off single that gave the South Siders an 8-7 win in 10 innings over the Tampa Bay Rays. The White Sox (43-25) now have the best record in baseball.
For better or worse, Lucas Giolito’s start relied on his changeup. He threw a quality start, allowing three earned runs, four hits, two walks and striking out seven batters over six innings, with his changeup dictating his successes and failures. He threw it slightly less on Wednesday (36%) compared to the rest of the season (37.3%). But it played a major role in Giolito retiring the first 10 batters — and also when the Rays scored three runs in his final two innings of work.
Giolito’s changeup had significantly more spin, but it still led to fewer whiffs (35%) than his 40.4% whiff rate this season with the pitch. Still, his first five strikeouts were via the changeup — his final two came on his curveball — and he escaped a fifth-inning jam by getting Randy Arozarena to sharply hit a changeup for the inning-ending ground out.
Lucas Giolito, 81mph Expelliarmus Changeup. pic.twitter.com/2sO3sQKZbb— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 16, 2021
Giolito, who gave up seven hard-hit balls, allowed all four of his hits off of the changeup, as well. The Rays recorded three doubles the second time through the order, while Yandy Díaz homered in his third at-bat.
Giolito finished his 102-pitch outing with a game score of 56.
The White Sox jumped all over Ryan Yarbrough in the fourth and fifth innings, making a solid first three innings recede from view. He only gave up five hard-hit balls, but a fielding error and a couple of bloop singles piled up over his six-inning start. Yarbrough gave up seven runs (five earned) on 10 hits, a walk and five strikeouts in 6 1⁄3 innings.
While he didn’t rely on his changeup as much as Giolito, Yarbrough still threw it more often against the White Sox. He threw it 24% of the time, compared to his 17.8% usage on the season. And like Giolito, it came with up-and-down results. He recorded two strikeouts, but also surrendered a two-run home run (José Abreu), double and two singles.
The White Sox found success against all of Yarbrough’s pitches, though. They recorded three hits off of his curveball, two singles against his sinker and a single versus his cutter, which he used to record three strikeouts. It wasn’t always hard contact, but the White Sox beat the shift and found holes in a very good defense.
Yarbrough’s 89-pitch start ended with a game score of 34.
Of course, Grandal’s at-bat in the 10th inning was the highest-leverage play of the game. He stepped to the plate with Andrew Vaughn at third base and one out. Grandal proceeded to hit a walk-off single. The at-bat clocked in at 4.73 LI.
There were plenty of players who faced a lot of pressure, but none more than Tampa Bay reliever Pete Fairbanks (3.66 pLI). He came into the 10th inning during a tie game, with Vaughn standing on second base. Fairbanks got Abreu to ground out before giving up the game-winning hit.
Ryan Burr (3.49 pLI) faced the most pressure for the White Sox.
Manuel Margot’s game-tying double in the eighth inning off of Evan Marshall was the game’s top play, with a .282 WPA.
Surprisingly, Grandal’s walk-off hit was tied with Danny Mendick’s leadoff double in the ninth inning (.173 WPA) for the third most important play. Abreu’s home run (.188 WPA) ranked second in the game.
Burr (.482 WPA) was by far the game’s top performer. He threw a scoreless 10th inning, with a strikeout, to strand Tampa Bay’s designated runner on second.
Luckiest hit: Kevin Kiermaier singled against Codi Heuer in the seventh inning on a ball with a .210 xBA. Kiermaier scored on Mike Zunino’s home run in the next at-bat.
Toughest out: The White Sox shift on Ji-Man Choi in the sixth inning worked, as the Rays first baseman lined out to Mendick. His at-bat had a .910 xBA.
Hardest hit: Brandon Lowe flew out to Brian Goodwin, who nearly collided with Jake Lamb, in the fourth inning. The routine fly out was hit at 109 mph.
Weakest contact: Goodwin grounded into a fielder’s choice on a check swing in the first inning. His 32.3 mph grounder went perfectly to third baseman Yandy Díaz, who was positioned for a potential bunt.
Longest hit: Zunino’s seventh-inning home run off of Heuer edged out Abreu’s bomb for the longest hit today — by two feet. Zunino’s blast traveled 395 feet.
Magic Number: 43
With the series win, which came without star third baseman and top WAR producer Yoán Moncada, the White Sox own the best record in baseball, at 43-25. They proved, even short-handed, that they can play with one of the best teams in the league, and will have another big test against Houston to finish the week. This is a resilient bunch.
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 during their extra-inning win over the Rays?
This poll is closed
Yasmani Grandal: Game-winning 1B, BB, 2 K, .146 WPA
Ryan Burr: IP, K, .482 WPA
Andrew Vaughn: 3-for-5, RBI, 2 K, -.237 WPA
José Abreu: 1-for-5, HR, 2 RBI, 2 K, .168 WPA
Zack Collins: 2-for-4, 2 RBI, .078 WPA
Lucas Giolito: 6 IP, 3 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 7 K, .127 WPA
Who was the White Sox Cold Cat during their extra-inning win over the Rays?
This poll is closed
Codi Heuer: IP, 2 ER, 2 H, HR, K, -.054 WPA
Aaron Bummer: 2/3 IP, 2 R, H, K, -.056 WPA
Evan Marshall: 1 1/3 IP, 2 H, 2 K, allowed inherited runner to score, -.068 WPA
Brian Goodwin: 0-for-4, sac bunt, K, -.082 WPA
South Side Sox Roll Call
Everyone came out to play in the gamethread on Wednesday, resulting in a whopping 463 comments. And after mostly missing the game last night, AnoHito ran away with the crown.
|17||Kongming, Sleeping Dragon||7|
|18||David John Craven||6|
|22||Right Size Wrong Shape||3|
|24||South Side Expat||2|
Most green came from a commenter witnessing some green first hand, live from the 300 level, Pointerbabe, with six recs.