After a wild matchup yesterday, the White Sox and Cubs met up for a more traditional game today. The White Sox were able to ride another outstanding performance by Carlos Rodón to a 4-0 victory. The South Siders got key offensive contributions from Yoán Moncada, César Hernández, and José Abreu. Michael Kopech, Aaron Bummer, Craig Kimbrel, and Ryan Tepera all pitched well in relief.
The White Sox heard the concerns of Carlos Rodón looking tired and found a way to give him a couple extra days of rest. The results immediately showed themselves with Rodón hitting 99 mph in the first inning. Umpire Fieldin Culbreth was generous with the high strike and Rodón paired that with his wipeout slider to dominate a weakened Cubs lineup. In his five innings, Rodón struck out 11 batters. He scattered two hits and two walks in his scoreless outing.
Like many teams before them, the Cubs could not touch Rodon’s slider. When they dared to swing, they whiffed 75% of the time. Rodón struggled to execute his changeup and ditched it early on. Of his 89 pitches, 84 of them were fastballs and sliders.
Here is a closer look at Rodón’s outing, which garnered a game score of 73:
Over his previous 10 starts, Adbert Alzolay had struggled to the tune of a 5.92 ERA. But in today’s contest, Alzolay was mostly in control. He gave up two runs in the first inning on a Yoán Moncada double. After that, however, he was mostly in cruise control.
For the season, Alzolay has been a different pitcher depending on the handedness of the batter. Against righties, he’s given up a measly OPS of .525. Lefties have proven much more of a challenge and have had an OPS of 1.022.
Outside of Moncada’s early double, Alzolay was able to succeed against lefties and righties alike. The key for him was his changeup. Coming into today’s matchup, Alzolay only threw his change 5.7% of the time. Against the Sox, he quadrupled his usage and threw it 23% of the time. It was his most effective pitch and produced the highest whiff percentage.
Here is how the 90-pitch outing from Alzolay shaped up, as he ended with a game score of 69:
With runners on first and third and only one out, Michael Kopech was able to get Patrick Wisdom to pop out to Tim Anderson. This moment in the sixth inning was the highest leverage moment of the game with an LI of 2.92. The next highest leverage opportunity came right after and Kopech was able to force a ground out to get out of the threat unscathed.
On average, Kopech faced the highest pressure all game in the sixth inning. He came into the game with a two-run lead and inherited runner. He allowed a hit, but kept the Cubs off the board. His pLI was 2.46.
Moncada picked a great time to end his extra-base hit drought. His first-inning double scored a pair and was good for a WPA of .184.
In terms of WPA, Rodón was today’s top performer (.226 WPA). His five shutout innings with 11 strikeouts led the way for the White Sox.
Hardest hit: David Bote’s single in the sixth inning came off the bat at 105.1 mph.
Weakest contact: Anderson weakly hit a ground ball to first with an exit velocity of 59.2 mph. Today was a game to forget for him.
Luckiest hit: Matt Duffy’s ninth inning single had an xBA of .110. The Cubs also had a hit with an xBA of .160 in the game. Even with the two luckiest hits in the game, the Cubs were unable to avoid a shutout.
Toughest out: Leury García was unlucky in the second inning when his line drive with a xBA of .800 found the glove of Andrew Romine.
Longest hit: The Sox hit two home runs today, but the longest hit belongs to Moncada and his 395-foot double.
Magic Number: 17
The White Sox struck out 17 Cubs batters, which is a season high. The Sox pitching staff is full of swing and miss stuff and they utilized it to great effect today in shutting out the Cubs.
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
Nello Rubio repeats as most active commenter winning by the slimmest of margins over AnoHito.
No comment went green today, but the top comment goes to mattcoz for his Andrew Romine impression.