The White Sox (63-44) entered today with a 7-6 record against the Royals (45-60), making Kansas City one of their tougher divisional opponents. However, the White Sox had no trouble solving Kris Bubic and the Royals, as they cruised to an easy win. Let’s take a look at how this one played out.
Assuming the White Sox hold their 9 1⁄2 -game lead in the AL Central, Dylan Cease will likely be the No. 4 starter come playoff time. Cease is much improved since 2020, and tonight’s performance was another clear step in the right direction.
The Royals struggled to put runners on base against Cease, who only faced a serious threat in the third inning. Edward Olivares led off that inning with a single, stole second, and advanced to third on a passed ball. If not for the passed ball, Olivares would have remained on second, and another out would have been recorded, as it occurred on strike three. But, Cease pitched out of the jam by forcing a soft grounder and a fly ball that Salvador Pérez got under.
In six innings, Cease allowed zero runs on one hit, and he only walked two while striking out 11. Bravo, Dylan. Here is a closer look at the 103-pitch performance by Cease:
Kris Bubic entered tonight’s game with an 1.54 ERA in 11 2⁄3 innings against the White Sox. However, the White Sox solved him tonight, as Andrew Vaughn and Tim Anderson launched early home runs to give the White Sox a lead that they held onto.
Bubic limited the damage to only three runs, and they all scored on those two homers, but with how Cease pitched, Bubic had no margin for error. While he did the minimum for a quality start (three earned runs in six innings), it was not enough tonight.
Here is how the 96-pitch outing from Bubic shaped up:
The passed ball by Seby Zavala in the third that allowed Olivares to advance to third had a leverage index of 2.32. After that, the Royals had runners on first and third with one out. Fortuntately, Cease pitched out of trouble to preserve the lead.
On average, Olivares faced the most high-pressure situations out of any player in this game, with a pLI of 1.23. This is largely a result of the passed ball that he took advantage of and his leadoff single that could have led to the tying run.
The home run by Anderson in the third takes the cake, improving Chicago’s odds of winning the game by 11.5% (.115 WPA). This narrowly edged out Vaughn’s solo homer an inning earlier (.111 WPA).
In terms of WPA, Cease is tonight’s top performer (.298 WPA). Cease’s six shutout innings were more than enough to bring him tonight’s honors.
Hardest hit: Vaughn’s second inning home run left the bat at 111.0 mph, which was enough to claim this award.
Weakest contact: In the second, Michael A. Taylor popped out on a bunt, which left the bat at 34.6 mph. It If we exclude bunts, the pop out by Nicky López claims this award, as his pop out in the fifth was hit only 40.5 mph.
Luckiest hit: Anderson’s fifth inning single only had a .060 xBA, but he reached base on an infield single to third regardless.
Toughest out: The line out in the eighth by Yoán Moncada had an xBA of .800. Unfortunately, Ryan O’Hearn was there to make the play.
Longest hit: Vaughn’s home run was absolutely crushed, as it traveled 441 feet. This was the longest hit of the game by a wide margin (next was Hunter Dozier’s 403-foot triple).
Magic Number: .119
The White Sox pitching staff was on top of its game tonight, as Kansas City only registered an overall xBA of .119 during tonight’s game. When that happens, a team needs a ton of luck to score, and unsurprisingly, Kansas City only put up one run tonight.
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
Carlos Rodón: 5 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 2 BB, 11 K, .226 WPA
Yoán Moncada: 1-for-4, 2B, 2 RBIs, .144 WPA
César Hernández: 2-for-4, HR, 2 R, .066 WPA
Craig Kimbrel: 1 IP, 0 R, 2 Ks, .027 WPA
Who was the White Sox Cold Cat?
This poll is closed
Tim Anderson: 0-for-4, 2 Ks, -.079 WPA
Zack Collins: 0-for-4, 2 Ks, typical Collins defense, -.066 WPA
Michael Kopech: 1 IP, 1 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 1 K, -.007 WPA
South Side Sox Roll Call
Katiesphil took the honors for most active commenter during tonight’s game.
Schooly_D received the most recs with that classic meme about Eloy! This comment was the first of the evening, and in this case, the early bird caught the worm.