A series or single game in mid-July doesn’t accurately indicate how a potential playoff series might play out, but it still was satisfying for the White Sox (55-36) to finally get the best of the Astros. For the first time this season against Houston, the South Siders controlled all aspects of the game in a 10-1 win, giving the Astros a taste of their own medicine.
Now, they have a chance to take the series tomorrow.
Lucas Giolito was efficient, dominant and looked like an ace against one of the best offenses in baseball. He tossed a complete game, but even his final pitching line of one earned run, three hits and eight strikeouts doesn’t do full justice to how he shut down the Astros on Saturday. He put on a clinic, making it look easy to halt a lineup that hasn’t had trouble scoring against most of the White Sox’s pitching staff.
Giolito relied on his 4-seam fastball (44.1% season average) more than usual, and it resulted in nine whiffs and three strikeouts. José Altuve singled on a fastball in the ninth inning for the Astros’ only hit against the pitch. Giolito also recorded two strikeouts with his curveball and slider, as he effectively used all four of his pitches. Michael Brantley doubled on a changeup as the second batter of the game, but Giolito retired the next 22 batters before Abraham Toro homered on a curveball in the eighth inning.
It was more than retiring batters, though. The Astros rarely squared Giolito up, as their first hard-hit ball didn’t come until the ninth batter of the game. Giolito only allowed six hard-hit balls, and never more than one in an inning. Most of the time, he forced lazy pop flies and weak grounders.
He earned a game score of 87 after a 107-pitch gem.
After Jake Odorizzi retired the first three batters, the White Sox put multiple runners on base in each of the next three innings to run the Houston starter out of the game after 3 ⅓ frames. Odorizzi and his poor control allowed four earned runs, six hits, four walks and a strikeout.
The White Sox recorded seven hard-hit balls against Odorizzi, with the bottom four batters of the lineup accounting for five of those hard-hit balls. It helped the White Sox find success against multiple pitches of Odorizzi’s wide arsenal. They recorded a home run and double against his splitter and slider, while hitting a pair of singles against his 4-seam fastball. Odorizzi’s 19% whiff rate tonight was slightly lower than his 23% season average, but consistent with his declining whiff rate since the sticky stuff crackdown.
By the end of Odorizzi’s night, only Andrew Vaughn didn’t reach base against him. Even Jake Burger avenged his strikeout, going from chasing fastballs near his head to sitting back and demolishing a slider low in the zone for an RBI double in his second at-bat.
Odorizzi’s 73-pitch start ended with a game score of 17.
Gavin Sheets finished 2-for-3, but it was his inning-ending ground out in the second inning that had a game-high 2.00 LI. Sheets stepped to the plate with a runner on third and one out, but couldn’t drive home Brian Goodwin, as the game remained scoreless.
Odorizzi faced the most pressure, because he put runners on base in nearly every inning. He owned a 0.93 pLI.
For the White Sox, Sheets (0.91 pLI) faced the most pressure. And despite not coming through in the second inning, he finished 2-for-3 with a double and home run before being replaced by Billy Hamilton in the sixth inning.
Zack Collins homered on a splitter in the middle of the zone to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead in the third inning. The South Siders never relinquished trailed, with Collins’ homer having a .119 WPA.
Giolito’s gem earned him top performer honors, clocking in at .261 WPA. It was his first complete game this year, dropping his ERA to 3.90 on the season.
Luckiest hit: Yoán Moncada beat the shift by hitting an infield single to a diving Toro, whose throw ricocheted out of Yuli Gurriel’s glove. Moncada had a .210 xBA.
Toughest out: Gurriel smoked a 107.7 mph line drive to center field, but Brian Goodwin made a routine play for the second out of the fourth inning. Gurriel had a .870 xBA.
Hardest hit: Burger entered Saturday with a 98.2 mph average exit velocity, and it’ll go up after his multi-hit game tonight. He hit his first career home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to extend the White Sox’s lead to 10-0, with it leaving his bat at 115.2 mph.
JAKE BURGER! FIRST CAREER HOME RUN! pic.twitter.com/F9lcJwW03z— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) July 18, 2021
Weakest contact: Toro hit a 58.8 mph pop up to end the fifth inning.
Longest hit: Burger smashed an inside fastball for a 456-foot home run. In a game where the White Sox hit five home runs, including three traveling at least 420 feet, Burger’s stands alone.
Magic Number: 2,061
The White Sox’s hit five home runs, with them traveling a combined 2,061 feet. Burger (456 feet), Sheets (424) and Abreu (423) all topped 400 feet, while Collins (385) and Tim Anderson (373) hit back-to-back bombs to open the scoring.
Also, Abreu’s homer put him in a tie for fourth place with Carlton Fisk on the White Sox’s career home run list.
José Abreu now ties Hall-of-Famer Carlton Fisk for fourth place in franchise history with 214 home runs! pic.twitter.com/VsJr5vP9W8— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) July 18, 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 10-1 blowout win over the Astros?
This poll is closed
Lucas Giolito: 9 IP. ER, 3 H, 9 K, .261 WPA
Tim Anderson: 3-for-5, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, .128 WPA
Gavin Sheets: 2-for-3, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, -.018 WPA
Jake Burger: 2-for-4, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, K, .044 WPA
José Abreu: 1-for-3, HR, 3 RBI, BB, .026 WPA
Zack Collins: 1-for-3, HR, RBI, BB, 2 K, .125 WPA
Who was the White Sox Cold Cat during their 10-1 blowout win over the Astros?
This poll is closed
Leury García: 0-for-2, 2 BB, thrown out at second, .029 WPA
Andrew Vaughn: 0-for-5, FIDP, -.078 WPA
Yoán Moncada: 1-for-4, BB, K, -.008 WPA
South Side Sox Roll Call
Now THAT is more like it. Nothing like a blowout against the trashtros to run up some big commenting numbers again, as we tipped the scales at 200 tonight. AnoHito fending off a strong play by our staffer, Nello Rubio, for the win.
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Schoolly_D’s well-timed pop culture photo gave him tonight’s top rec, with four: