Chicago’s recent five-game losing streak was highlighted by poor offense, but their current four-game winning streak has seen them reverse their fortunes at the plate. The White Sox (48-32) have scored seven or more runs in each of their last four games, including today’s 8-5 win over the Twins to complete the sweep and push the division rival 14 1⁄2 games back.
Much of the attention moving forward will be focused on Yoán Moncada’s health, though. He left the game with a bruised right hand, which got caught underneath his headfirst slide into third base.
Tony La Russa said Yoán Moncada will likely miss the series in Detroit, but they hope he will be back against Minnesota on Monday— James Fegan (@JRFegan) July 1, 2021
It unraveled in the fifth inning for Carlos Rodón. A one-hitter turned into a one-run deficit, despite the White Sox being the team who constantly had traffic on the base paths. A botched relay throw allowed a run to score and a wild pitch moved a runner into scoring position, but it wasn’t solely poor defense to blame for a four-run inning. Rodón started to leave pitches over the plate, which the Twins turned into four straight hits to lead off the inning.
Here’s a look at Rodón’s final pitching line, broken down to show his dominant start and disappointing ending:
- Final: 5 IP, 4 ER, 6 H, 9 K, 2 BB, 6 hard-hit balls
- First four innings: 4 IP, 0 ER, H, 7 K, BB, 2 hard-hit balls
- Fifth inning: IP, 4 ER, 5 H, 2 K, BB, 4 hard-hit balls
The Twins were the rare team to capitalize on his slider. Rodón gave up seven hits on his slider entering his Thursday start, but today alone the Twins recorded three hits against that pitch, albeit one coming in the first inning when the ball got stuck in Moncada’s glove. It still worked as Rodón’s put-away pitch, with six of his nine strikeouts coming via the slider. That said, his fastball was the main reason he owned a 47% whiff rate, which is significantly higher than his 34.6% season average. He finished with 14 swings-and-misses (61% whiff rate) on his 4-seam fastball, turning it into three strikeouts.
Rodón’s spin rates weren’t noticeably different from his season averages. He finished with a game score of 51.
The White Sox didn’t have trouble seeing José Berríos’ pitches, which had noticeably lower spin rates on Thursday. Berríos had a 2.65 ERA and 9.2 K/9 against the White Sox in his career in 17 prior starts, but struggled to keep them from making hard contact on Thursday. The South Siders recorded 10 hits, a walk and eight hard-hit balls, though only turned them into four runs (three earned) during his five-inning start. Berríos used a pair of double plays to work out of a couple of jams, as he didn’t have a strikeout for the first time since April 29, 2018 against the Cincinnati Reds (a three-inning start). Berríos finished with five whiffs (12% whiff rate).
Berríos has thrown his curveball 31.4% of the time this season, but only threw it 19% of the time on Thursday. It’s likely partly due to the White Sox recording four hits against the pitch, including Brian Goodwin hitting a solo shot to open the scoring in the second frame. However, the White Sox hit all of Berríos’ pitches. They recorded four hits against his sinker, which he threw a game-high 46% of the time, and two hits off of his 4-seam fastball. It translated into eight hard-hit balls, as well.
Berríos finished with a game score of 30, but kept the Twins in the game.
Garrett Crochet came through in a high-leverage situation in the seventh inning. He struck out Trevor Larnach for the second out, and then with the bases loaded, got Miguel Sanó to swing through a slider down the middle of the plate to end the threat. The White Sox maintained a 6-4 lead.
Sanó’s at-bat had 4.62 LI, while Larnach’s strikeout clocked in at 3.16 LI for the second-highest leverage situation of the contest.
No one faced more individual pressure than Crochet (3.42 pLI), who entered the game after Codi Heuer walked back-to-back batters to put the tying runner on. Crochet struck out two batters around a walk to Ryan Jeffers, which loaded the bases. As his 4-seam fastball averaged 96 mph, it was a confidence-boosting outing for the young left-hander, who has recently struggled in high-leverage outings.
Zack Collins stepped to the plate in the sixth inning with the game tied, 4-4. Jorge Alcala delivered a 1-2 fastball high and outside, but Collins turned on it for a solo home run to give the White Sox a one-run lead. It was his third homer of the season, coming in the midst of five straight runs for the South Siders.
Collins’ at-bat clocked in at .166 WPA.
Goodwin capped a productive series by going 2-for-4, with a double, home run, walk and RBI. His solo shot started the scoring, while he later scored in the seventh inning to extend the White Sox lead, 7-4. Goodwin finished with .241 WPA.
Luckiest hit: Alex Kirilloff capped an eight-pitch at-bat against Ryan Burr with a single to right field to lead off the eighth inning. It had a .110 xBA.
Toughest out: Nelson Cruz hit a sharp line drive into left field in the ninth inning, but Goodwin made a nice play to record the second out of the inning. It came off of Cruz’s bat at 106.5 mph and had a .900 xBA. Only two batted balls had a higher xBA in the game.
Hardest hit: Of course, Cruz hurt the White Sox. His go-ahead, RBI single in the fifth inning came off of his bat at 112.2 mph into left field.
Weakest contact: Tim Anderson grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the second inning. He hit a 43.8 mph grounder to Josh Donaldson.
Longest hit: Berríos left a curveball down the middle of the plate, which Goodwin sent 425 feet into the right-field bleachers. He narrowly beat out Collins’ bomb (410 feet) for the longest hit.
Magic Number: 5
It was quite the debut series for Gavin Sheets, who finished 5-for-11 with two doubles, a home run, five RBIs and only two strikeouts. He looked comfortable at the plate, and didn’t look overwhelmed with runners in scoring position.
Players with an extra-base hit in each of first 3 career MLB games, #WhiteSox history— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) July 1, 2021
Bill Cissell, April 11-13, 1928
Gavin Sheets, June 29-July 1, 2021
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 win over the Twins on Thursday?
This poll is closed
Brian Goodwin: 2-for-4, 2B, HR, RBI, BB, .241 WPA
Zack Collins: 2-for-3, HR, 2 RBI, BB, .164 WPA
Garrett Crochet: 2/3 IP, 2 K, BB, .137 WPA
José Abreu: 2-for-4, RBI, .105 WPA
Yoán Moncada: 2-for-2, fielding error, .056 WPA
Who was the White Sox Cold Cat during their win over the Twins on Thursday?
This poll is closed
Carlos Rodón: 5 IP, 4 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 9 K, -.221 WPA
Codi Heuer: 1/3 IP, 2 BB, -.066 WPA
Tim Anderson: 1-for-5, K, -.067 WPA
South Side Sox Roll Call
Like the White Sox came to play in this Twins sweep, AnoHito came to pay in today’s 398-comment (!) gamethread, more than doubling KP in second place.
|3||Right Size Wrong Shape||30|
|16||David John Craven||4|
|21||South Side Expat||2|
|22||Mark P. Liptak||2|
A nice amount of green today, but only one comment with as many as four recs, from RSWS: