Yeah, that sucked. Like the dek says—you can only expect so much when you look at the bottom half of the lineups the Sox are throwing out there. So before we get to that, I’m just gonna leave up this little heart-warmer from yesterday.
The Kimbrel Kid meets Craig Kimbrel. It doesn't get much better than this! pic.twitter.com/obDdA56D7x— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) September 16, 2021
It was an enigmatic start for Reynaldo López, who had his first true meltdown of the season in the box score this afternoon, giving up seven runs (six earned) over four innings pitched. That final line isn’t quite reflective of how López seemed to feel today, as his stuff was relatively sharp and his fastball finished with an excellent CSW. However, his slider and curveball—which he threw a season-high 11 times—weren’t particularly effective drawing just two whiffs on 14 swings. Nonetheless, he struck out seven and walked just one. He wasn’t ineffective all-around.
More importantly than the numbers on his individual pitches, the hits he allowed simply came at the wrong times today. The second-inning two-run homer that kicked off the action from Luis Rengifo—who perhaps should have had the day off following news of his arrest warrant in Venezuela—was on a fastball right down the pipe, but the five-run fifth inning that put the game away was sparked by a fair share of luck. The hit probability on Jared Walsh’s infield single was under 25%, and Jack Mayfield’s bases-clearing triple that just scooted down the line was at just 13%. Jose Rojas’s home run the following at-bat was simply a good swing on a good pitch.
All of this sounds like excuse-making, and at the end of the day, it is. This is Reynaldo López for you. As we saw today, the curveball still isn’t very good. The slider is fine, if not elite. The fastball plays—when he throws strikes. He still has trouble putting all of those things together, which is why his future still lies in the spot-starter/swingman role, rather than the rotation.
Ultimately, the three runs the offense produced today were probably never going to win this game. López’s 81-pitch outing looked like this:
In the other dugout, Alex Cobb made his first start since July 23rd, throwing just over 60 pitches and holding the Sox scoreless over five innings, allowing just two hits along the way. Hitters seemed to have a lot of difficulties timing up Cobb’s secondary pitches, and interestingly, he led with his splitter, throwing it more than any other pitch at 44%.
It only resulted in a 21% CSW, but that belies the effect of Cobb’s good command of the pitch. Cobb’s sinker—which is typically an incredibly average-at-best with low velocity, spin, and blah movement—was good for an ultra-high 38% CSW, which is what happens when you have a subpar lineup that can’t tell whether the incoming pitch is a splitter or not. He mixed in a few curveballs, but those were the two pitches that did the most damage, perhaps most tellingly holding hitters to an average exit velocity in the low-eighties on his splitter.
Cobb’s 66 pitches on the afternoon looked like this:
For better or worse, Romy González has yet to make much of an impression at the big league level, though he had his chance today, as his second inning plate appearance with two runners on and one out (and a 2-0 deficit) came with a game-high leverage index of 2.18. Unfortunately, he grounded into a double play, good for a brutal -10% win probability added (WPA), and the rest is history.
With a game-high pLI of 0.97, Leury García (of all people) totaled the most “pressure” faced today, although he wasn’t able to do much with it, going just 1-for-4.
Only one play today swung the win expectancy by more than 10%, and it was Rengifo’s second inning dinger, which added a full .161 WPA just a few minutes in the game.
Unsurprisingly, Rengifo took a super-duper low WPA crown with 0.21 today, as most of the team’s at-bats were taken with the pressure more or less off.
Hardest hit: The highest exit velocity for the game came on the smoked 109.8 MPH ground ball that Jack Mayfield couldn’t handle and bore the cross of an error for.
Weakest contact: Luis Robert’s weak sixth-inning popup had the low mark at 51.9 MPH today.
Luckiest hit: Unfortunately for the White Sox, the luckiest hit of the day was possibly the most crucial, going to the aforementioned Jack Mayfield bases-clearing double-turned-trouble that had a .130 expected batting average.
Toughest out: Almost every hard-hit ball found paydirt today; Kean Wong’s .390 xBA groundout against Ryan Burr was the unluckiest out on the afternoon.
Longest hit: José Rojas’s game-breaking blast flew 427 feet, the farthest of the game.
Magic Number: 5
Five home games left this season. Let’s hope they make the most of them. History is not kind to teams that cruise around .500 into the playoffs.
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 today?
This poll is closed
Gavin Sheets (0-for-2, 2 BB)
José Abreu (1-for-4, 2 RBI)
Luis Robert (2-for-5, RBI)
Who was the White Sox Cold Cat today?
This poll is closed
Reynaldo López (4 IP, 7 R, 6 ER, BB, 7 SO)
Romy González (1-for-4, 2 SO, 3 LOB)
César Hernández (0-for-3, BB, LOB)
South Side Sox Roll Call
A Thursday afternoon blowout is a perfect recipe for the relatively quiet, 112-comment gamethread we had today.
|Roll Call Info|
|Commenter list||AnoHito, David John Craven, DonGutteridge, DuhSox, Gutteridge70, Mark P. Liptak, NothinbutNets7, Ozziesox, Right Size Wrong Shape, Southside Boneman, Uribe Down, WIN05, baines03, billyok, goombafrank, katiesphil, mrridgman, shumway, steely3000, wissoxfan83|
I agreed with katiesphil’s sarcasm, though I wish it had aged better. Right Size Wrong Shape had the spirit of the game with their place in green.