After an exciting series win against the Red Sox, the White Sox (83-61) welcomed the Angels (70-74) for the first of a three-game series in Chicago. Fortunately, the bullpen delivered five scoreless innings, and the offense was quite lively. As a result, the South Siders got their 83rd win of the season with relative ease. Let’s take a look at how it happened.
Lucas Giolito returned from the injured list with a strong performance. While three earned runs in four innings does not sound great, Giolito performed better than those numbers would lead us to believe.
All three of the runs Giolito allowed came on home runs that would have normally been fly outs. However, tonight’s luck was not on Giolito’s side, as he allowed home runs with expected batting averages of .170 and .300. As far as his ability to miss bats, Giolito was not rusty in the slightest. Giolito racked up 18 whiffs, which made up 40% of all swings by the Angels against him.
Giolito finished with four innings, three runs, three hits, two walks, and eight strikeouts. Here is a closer look at his 87-pitch performance:
After a quiet first inning, the White Sox made things difficult for rookie Packy Naughton. Naughton threw 58 pitches before being removed after two and two-thirds innings, as limiting sharp contact was an issue for him.
Luis Robert launched a 434-foot home run in the second inning to tie the game, and it only got worse from there. A double by Leury García followed by an RBI single by Gavin Sheets gave the White Sox a 2-1 lead. The White Sox led the rest of the way. In the third, the South Siders added a few insurance runs, and Naughton was responsible for two of them. The score was still 2-1 when Naughton left the game, but the two hitters he allowed to reach base went on to score after the bullpen took over.
Here is how the 58-pitch outing from Naughton shaped up:
When Luis Rengifo came up to bat for the Angels in the fifth against Mike Wright Jr., the score was 7-3, but the bases were loaded. In addition, the fact that there were two outs added to the leverage index. As a result, this at-bat had a leverage index of 2.29, the highest of the game. Fortunately, after issuing three walks, Wright pitched out of the jam by striking out Rengifo.
On average, White Sox reliever Mike Wright Jr. faced the most high-pressure situations out of any player in this game, with a pLI of 1.14. Wright put himself in a difficult position by walking three batters in his only inning of work, but he escaped without allowing any runs.
The three-run homer by Sheets increased the South Siders’ odds of winning the game by 15.9% (.159 WPA). That home run gave the White Sox three insurance runs and made the score 6-1.
In terms of WPA, Sheets was tonight’s top performer, finishing with at .276.
Hardest hit: Luis Robert’s third inning double left his bat at 111.7 mph.
Weakest contact: By contrast, Yasmani Grandal’s eighth inning ground out had an exit velocity of only 52.1 mph.
Luckiest hit: The fourth inning home run by Jared Walsh had an xBA of only .170.
Toughest out: Robert’s seventh inning line out had an xBA of .670, but with the exception of this award, he did not have anything to show for it.
Longest hit: Sheets’ 447-foot home run edges out Robert’s 434-foot home run to claim this award.
Magic Number: 9
Success in the postseason is often linked to production from all parts of a lineup instead of a ton of success from a couple of core players. Tonight, the bottom of the order was on fire, as the bottom four hitters in the lineup racked up a total of nine hits. In addition, those hitters drove in seven runs, with four of them coming from WPA MVP Gavin Sheets.
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: 3-for-4, HR, 2B, 4 RBI, .276 WPA
Luis Robert: 2-for-3, HR, 2B, HBP, .151 WPA
Leury García: 2-for-4, 2B, RBI, .122 WPA
Who was the White Sox Cold Cat?
This poll is closed
Lucas Giolito: 4 IP, 3 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 8 K, -.010 WPA
Yasmani Grandal: 1-for-5, RBI, -.045 WPA
Tim Anderson: 1-for-5, -.014 WPA
Eloy Jiménez: 1-for-4, -.027 WPA
South Side Sox Roll Call
There were 218 comments on tonight’s gamethread, and AnoHito claims the gold medal for total number of comments, with 61.
Uribe Down collected three recs on one of his comments, which was the most from Tuesday night’s game. Leury García deserves much credit for turning his season around after his April went horribly wrong. García was solid again tonight.