Heading into today, the White Sox (57-37) had quite the track record against the Twins (40-54) this year. However, it looked like the Twins had the White Sox’s number today, as they won the first game of the doubleheader. They also jumped out to a 3-1 lead after five innings in the nightcap. Fortunately, the White Sox bounced back and managed to pull off an epic victory. Let’s take a look at how it unfolded.
Expectations were low for White Sox pitcher Reynaldo López in his MLB first start of the season. López had an ERA of 7.62 in 39 innings in Triple-A Charlotte this year, though the peripherals were more promising (4.49 FIP, 4.46 xFIP). While López avoided disaster, he put the White Sox in a bit of a rough situation.
Luis Arráez led off the game with a single, and he advanced to third on a pickoff error by López. The next batter, Josh Donaldson, hit a sacrifice fly that scored the first run of the game.
In the second, Mitch Garver launched a solo home run, and that gave the Twins a 2-1 lead. López managed to recover and did not allow any runs after that, though he was removed after three innings.
Here is a closer look at the 44-pitch performance by López:
José Berríos entered tonight’s game with an 2.69 ERA in 120 2⁄3 career innings against the White Sox. Tonight appeared to be heading in a similar direction, as Berríos was difficult to solve. Through five innings in tonight’s seven-inning nightcap, Berríos had only allowed one run, and that came on a José Abreu homer in the first. Besides that home run, Berríos was cruising through the White Sox lineup, and Minnesota’s 3-1 lead after five seemed safe.
The White Sox did not quit, however, and Yoán Moncada launched his seventh home run of the season to make it 3-2 in the sixth. Then, the seventh went about as well as it could have gone for the White Sox. Brian Goodwin singled, Andrew Vaughn got hit by a pitch, and Gavin Sheets crushed a walk-off home run. The evening started out great for Berríos, but it certainly did not end that way.
Here is how the 94-pitch outing from Berríos shaped up:
The wild pitch by Berríos in the seventh had a mammoth leverage index of 6.08. The White Sox had runners on first and second with no outs, and the wild pitch allowed both runners to move up 90 feet.
It was close, but on average, Brian Goodwin faced the most high-pressure situations out of any player in this game, with a pLI of 2.80. This is largely a result of Goodwin’s opportunity to get a rally started, as he led off the bottom of the seventh. Fortunately, Goodwin took advantage of the opportunity and singled.
In a surprise to nobody, the home run by Gavin Sheets in the seventh takes the cake. The home run improved the White Sox’s odds of winning the game by 27.4% (.274 WPA). It was also the most dramatic play and will likely be replayed for quite some time in the coming months. If the White Sox go far this year, it could turn into one of these iconic regular season memories.
In terms of WPA, Brian Goodwin is tonight’s top performer (.291 WPA). Goodwin only had one hit in the game, but it was a big one. His single to open up the bottom of the seventh set the table for the magical ending.
Hardest hit: Abreu’s first inning home run left the bat at 107.0 mph, which was enough to claim this award.
Weakest contact: Danny Mendick bunted into a force out, which left the bat at ... 21.8 mph. Not that sharp. It was also a bunt decision that was questionable at best. If we exclude bunts, Mendick still claims this award, as his pop out in the sixth was hit only 42.0 mph.
Luckiest hit: This one is perhaps the weirdest award I have recapped in a Six Pack of Stats article. BABIP luck was not on hitters’ side in this game, so there is not a lot of stiff competition. That being said, the luckiest hit was the walk-off home run (hard to type this with a straight face). The home run by Sheets had an xBA of .420, and nothing with a lower xBA fell in for a hit.
Toughest out: The line out in the fifth by Max Kepler had an xBA of .580.
Longest hit: Garver’s fifth inning home run traveled 418 feet, which edged out Abreu’s 413-foot home run for longest of the game.
Magic Number: 4,803
It has been 4,803 days since the White Sox hit a walk-off home run against a starting pitcher (Carlos Quentin did that against John Lackey and the Angels on May 25, 2008). We can thank the seven-inning doubleheaders for this one.
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?
This poll is closed
Gavin Sheets: 1-for-3, walk-off HR, 3 RBI, .213 WPA
Brian Goodwin: 1-for-3, .297 WPA
José Abreu: 1-for-3, HR, .050 WPA
Yoán Moncada: 1-for-3, HR, .029 WPA
Who was the White Sox Cold Cat?
This poll is closed
Leury García: 0-for-3, K, -.103 WPA
Matt Foster: 2 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 1 K, -.032 WPA
Reynaldo López: 3 IP, 2 R (1 ER), 2 H, 1 BB, 3 K, -.083 WPA
South Side Sox Roll Call
Nello Rubio edged out AnoHito and Pointerbabe for the most active member tonight. Meanwhile, the reaction of mattcoz to the exciting conclusion tied for the most recs. Schoolly_D’s positivity, which turned out to be accurate, also tied for that distinction.