After a series-opening loss yesterday, the White Sox picked up a 5-3 win on the road against the Royals. Chicago (60-41) is one of six MLB teams to reach 60 wins so far this season. The Royals (43-56) are 16 games behind the first-place White Sox in the AL Central.
Dylan Cease threw a quality start, going six innings and giving up two earned runs on six hits and one walk, while striking out six Kansas City hitters. Cease had a game xFIP of 3.44, 0.44 runs higher than his game ERA of 3.00.
Cease used his 4-seam fastball and his slider as his two main pitches, making up 72 of his 89 total pitches for the night. His CSW% of 29 was lower than his season number of 31.1%. Cease either remained at the same rate or fell below his 2021 numbers in both vertical and horizontal movement on all four of his pitches, but he saw more than a 0.5 mph gain in velocity from his entire arsenal. Cease also saw an improvement in spin rate on all four of his pitches.
Brad Keller threw seven innings for the Royals, giving up one earned run on four hits and two walks while striking out four White Sox batters. Like Cease, Keller had a game xFIP higher than his game ERA, but saw a larger difference. Keller’s 4.40 xFIP was more than three runs higher than his game ERA of 1.29.
Keller used his slider, 4-seam fastball, and sinker as his three main pitches, with the trio making up 82 of 90 total pitches. With a CSW% of 26, Keller saw a 0.7% improvement from his season 25.3 CSW%. Keller gained vertical movement on three of his four pitches but lost horizontal movement on three of the four. His 4-seam fastball velocity remained the same, but Keller gained velocity on the rest of his arsenal.
After going 0-for-4 in his season debut yesterday, White Sox left fielder Eloy Jiménez impressed in his second game of the year. After an intentional walk to José Abreu put runners on the corners with two outs in the top of the eighth and the White Sox trailing 3-2, Jiménez sent a deep fly ball out to left-center to give the White Sox a 5-3 lead. The at-bat had a 4.34 LI, the most pressure of any plate appearance.
Eloy Jiménez is a game changer.@The_bigbaby74 | @NBCSChicago pic.twitter.com/jKzzV8YLji— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) July 28, 2021
Royals reliever Jake Brentz faced the most pressure, in just two thirds of an inning of work. His 2.80 pLI was the most for any player tonight.
Jiménez’s three-run homer in the eighth resulted in the biggest change in win expectancy. His four-bagger added .570 WPA, the most of any individual plate appearance.
After having a negative WPA leading into the eighth inning, Eloy Jimenez’s home run put his total for the game at .481, the highest of any player.
Luckiest hit: White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson went 1-for-4 tonight, and his lone hit was the luckiest of the game, a ground-ball single to third base in the third inning that had a .090 xBA.
Toughest out: Eloy Jiménez found himself in the highlight reels not only for his bat but for his glove. His shoestring catch in the bottom of the fourth on a Michael A. Taylor line drive had a .870 xBA.
Fine Italian leather pic.twitter.com/qwi5K2jDN4— White Sox Talk (@NBCSWhiteSox) July 28, 2021
Hardest hit: Jiménez’s eighth inning home run came off the bat at 109.3 mph, beating out Gavin Sheets’ fourth inning homer by 0.4 mph as the night’s hardest-hit ball.
Weakest contact: Jiménez had two hits tonight. His home run was the hardest-hit ball of the night, and his first hit of the season was the softest-hit. The line-drive single to right field had an exit velocity of 62.3 mph.
Longest hit: Showcasing his power, Jiménez sent the eighth inning home run 459 feet, the longest hit ball of the game.
Magic Number: 46
Eloy Jiménez hit his 46th career home run tonight. After a 31-home run season in his rookie year and 14 long balls in 55 games last year, FanGraphs depth charts project Jiménez to finish the season with 12 home runs.
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 in the 5-3 win against the Royals?
This poll is closed
Eloy Jiménez: 2-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, R, .481 WPA
Gavin Sheets: 1-for-3, HR, R, RBI, BB, K, .124 WPA
Liam Hendriks: 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, K, .101 WPA
Who was the White Sox Cold Cat in the 5-3 win against the Royals?
This poll is closed
Yoán Moncada: 0-for-4, RBI, -.156 WPA
Brian Goodwin: 0-for-4, K, -138 WPA
Tim Anderson: 1-for-4, K, -.133 WPA
South Side Sox Roll Call
AnoHito and Nello have been engaged in some classic gamethread battles, and tonight Ano again prevailed, 46-43, with 253 comments in the books.
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With five recs, RSWS went greenest for the game, cheering up Nello: