After losses in four of their last five games, the Chicago White Sox offense finally looked put together against the Toronto Blue Jays, winning 9-7 thanks to an early barrage of runs and a back end of the bullpen that was able to pick up the front end. Carlos Rodón made his much-anticipated return to the mound and Craig Kimbrel picked up his first save for the White Sox in a win that, while not as authoritative as it should have been, will nonetheless feel much welcomed.
Rodón didn’t give us much to complain about in his return to the bump, throwing 46 of 67 pitches for strikes and averaging 94.9 mph on his fastball — while that’s a little slower than what we’re used to, probably isn’t too much cause for concern.
In his first start in 19 days after an IL stint, Carlos Rodón went 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, BB, 3 K, HR, 46 of 67 pitches for strikes with nine swinging strikes.— James Fegan (@JRFegan) August 26, 2021
His fastball (94.9 mph) was a tick below his season average, but his last heater of the day was his hardest one (97.3 mph).
Continuing the trend we were seeing before his injury, Rodón essentially shelved his changeup and curveball, throwing almost exclusively fastballs and sliders. Somewhat concerningly, Rodón’s fastball only drew three whiffs on 17 swings, far below his season rate. His slider also produced an unusually average 33% whiff rate and 35% CSW, though it ultimately didn’t show in the bottom line. Long story short, the stuff was mostly there, though it’s not all the way back. At the same time, it’s encouraging that Rodón has figured out how to get through five efficient innings against a dangerous offense even without his best form.
Following up one of his best starts of the season, the Sox offense gave Ryu deja vu for his August 8 drubbing in Boston, as he allowed seven earned runs in just 3 2⁄3 innings for the second time in the month of August. Ryu’s fastball was fine today, earning a very nice 44% CSW on a mix of called and swinging strikes. The issue was that his secondaries were entirely ineffective, with his curveball, slider, and cutter generating just two swinging strikes in 30 pitches.
He did, however, get dashed with a bit of bad luck, as we’ll see in a bit. He had only given up one home run in his last eight starts before today, so it’s fitting that in giving up three homers in a game for the first time this season, not all of them were exactly well-earned. Overall, Ryu lasted just 66 pitches, his lowest on the season since April 25, and suffered his seventh loss, moving him to 12-7 on the season.
This game was like a Quentin Tarantino movie: Long periods of pretty much nothing happening, interspersed with brief but intense scenes of graphic violence. Though there were a few tense moments both early on and when the Blue Jays knocked Michael Kopech around in the second, the big White Sox lead held for most of the game reduced the pressure to something quite mundane. Before the Sox had seven runs in their corner, it was just a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the second inning, and Rodón had just walked his second batter of the inning to put two on for Reese McGuire. Los proceeded to induce an easy groundout to César Hernández to get out of the inning, and the 1.70 LI was the highest either side would see all game.
Garrett Crochet put on his big-boy pants for this one, finishing the day with a pLI of 1.23, the highest of the game, as he came in to pitch a scoreless eighth inning after Ryan Tepera managed to do the same in the seventh and keep the game firmly in control after Michael Kopech’s sixth-inning meltdown.
Only one play swung the game’s win probability by double-digits, and it was Luis Robert’s go-ahead, two-run shot in the second inning, which added more than 20% (.202 WPA) to the Sox chances to win.
The White Sox spread the love around, but erstwhile farmhand Marcus Semien did a ton of the heavy lifting for Toronto in their comeback effort. Between his first-inning homer to get the Jays on the board, fifth-inning RBI single to help hasten Rodón’s departure, and seventh-inning, three-run blast against Michael Kopech to make it a 9-7 game, Semien was good for .231 WPA, more than fifty points higher than second-place Luis Robert.
Hardest hit: Ironically, the best piece of wood allowed by Michael Kopech today didn’t even land for a hit, as Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s sixth-inning ground out at 109.6 mph was the hardest-hit ball of the game.
Weakest contact: The most feeble batted ball of the game belonged to Santiago Espinal, who got caught diving on a Ryan Tepera slider and popped it up at just 60.7 mph.
Luckiest hit: César Hernández takes the cake for the second consecutive game: his home run to get the Sox on the board had just a 5% hit probability. That’s right, an .050 xBA.
Toughest out: Bo Bichette tagged Rodón for a 104 mph laser in the third inning, but it found Luis Robert’s glove in spite of a .780 expected batting average.
Longest hit: Eloy and Luis get to take this one home together, with both homers landing an even 410 feet from home plate. Sharing is caring!
Magic Number: 0
This represents two things. It’s the number of days left before the Sox shoot for their first Crosstown Cup win in a half-decade. It’s also the number of Sox games that will be called by Gordon Beckham in the foreseeable future. The second half of the Crosstown deserves nothing but the best of Danny Vietti’s TV Crew Bracket Champions™.
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’s the Sox MVP for August 26?
This poll is closed
Carlos Rodón (5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, BB, 3 K)
Tim Anderson (3-5, 2 RBI, 1 R)
César Hernández (2-4, HR, 2 R, RBI, 0 LOB)
Who was the Sox cold cat for August 26?
This poll is closed
Michael Kopech (IP, 4 H, 5 ER, K)
Andrew Vaughn (0-4, BB, R)
Brian Goodwin (1-4, 2 LOB)
South Side Sox Roll Call
We had 228 comments on the slate this afternoon, headlined by baines03:
|20||David John Craven||2|
Once again, just two doses of green tonight, but baines03 adds to his accolades!