The White Sox (85-66) are 31-31 since the All-Star break after losing a 5-3 nailbiter to the Tigers (74-78) on Tuesday. Some things happened. Jace Fry pitched in the seventh inning of a tie game of a potential division-clincher. The Sox went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position. They left thirteen on base. Twelve hits, six walks, a reach on an error, culminating in all of three runs. On to the next.
For the second straight start, Dallas Keuchel (ND, 8-9) didn’t have all that much in the way of stuff. Yet he managed to work his way around a major jam in just about every single inning he appeared in on the way to a five-inning, two-run effort, holding opponents to two runs for the second straight start after doing so just once in his previous six.
Keuchel’s already-fringe swing-and-miss abilities have plummeted to the bottom of the league this year, and today was no exception. He managed just a 19% CSW rate in total, and none of his sinker, four-seamer, and slider drew a single whiff. All in all, he got a swing and miss on just four of 96 pitches.
Relatedly, he also gave up eleven hits and struck out just two. He only walked one, but that has more to do with hitters putting the ball in play before they had a chance to draw four balls. To be a little fair, only six of the 23 balls in play he allowed were hit harder than 95 MPH, but that’s still a little bit misleading. When it’s that easy to make contact, it’s easier to hit it where they ain’t, and that’s exactly what happened.
Amazingly, though, Keuchel was able to strand all ten of the twelve baserunners he let on over those five innings, leaving two runners on in the first, third, and fifth innings and getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth. That right there might be what allowed the Sox to stay in this game down to the wire, but realistically, it’s little more than luck. This season, Keuchel has stranded 67% of his baserunners. His career rate is 73%. The next time he gives up eleven hits, more than two runs will probably be in the cards.
Here are the numbers on Keuchel’s 95-pitch outing:
Today marked Tyler Alexander’s thirteenth outing against the White Sox, far and away the most of any team he’s faced. They’ve dinged him for 51 hits and 22 runs in 35 1⁄3 innings, accounting for a quarter of the runs he’s given up at the big league level.
If they were playing better, I’d say the White Sox were doing their God of Death imitation, because after all that drubbing, Alexander looked at the struggling Sox lineup and said “not today.” He lasted 91 pitches covering five innings, also making his way around a lot of contact by allowing two earned runs despite seven hits, two walks, and just two strikeouts.
Alexander actually drew fewer swings and misses than Keuchel, getting whiffs on three of those 91 pitches. He also got hit a little bit harder than Keuchel, with seven of his nineteen balls in play breaking 95 MPH. Arguably, he even got more help than Keuchel, inducing a critical inning-ending double play with the bases loaded and letting Yoán Moncada wipe out a leadoff extra-base hit by getting thrown out at third.
Nonetheless, it worked, and the Tigers go home winners, even if he doesn’t. Here are the numbers on Alexander’s 91-pitch outing:
The biggest moment of the game by Leverage Index came before things unwound in the late innings, as the Robbie Grossman groundout induced by Keuchel with the bases loaded and the game tied at two in the fourth inning had a LI of 3.37, with no other PA coming within .5.
By virtue of timing, Aaron Bummer’s total pLI of 1.84 was the highest in the game. His performance in that pressure cooker was a major factor in the loss, as he failed to record an out in his two-batter appearance, walking one and getting bailed out with a TOOTBLAN after Victor Reyes’s single scored the two winning runs.
Niko Goodrum’s line drive single to right field to score Robbie Grossman in the seventh gave the Tigers a 3-2 lead and increased their chance of winning by 18.8%.
Victor Reyes did the heavy lifting for the Tigers, as his two-run single against Bummer beefed his WPA to .39, a well-earned title with those runs ultimately being the difference-maker.
Hardest hit: Luis Robert’s greeted Alexander with a 107.7 MPH double in the first inning, and that remained the hardest-hit ball seen this afternoon.
Weakest contact: Adam Engel’s fourth-inning popout against Alexander left the bat at just 60.2 MPH, lowest of the day.
Luckiest hit: By contrast, Robert’s second hit of the day, a 90 MPH grounder in the third inning, had just a 10% hit probability.
Toughest out: Yoán Moncada’s groundout in the top of the second was a bit better than a coin flip to be a base hit, but at 56% was the unluckiest out of the afternoon.
Longest hit: With no balls leaving the yard, Moncada’s would-be triple to the left-center field gap in the fourth landed as the farthest hit of the day at 379 feet.
Magic Number: 2
As you’re probably well aware, that’s the actual magic number. It might be lower by the end of the night. Either way, let’s get this over with.
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 afternoon?
This poll is closed
Luis Robert (2-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI)
Tim Anderson (2-for-5, 2B, R, RBI)
Yoán Moncada (2-for-5, 2B, BB)
Yasmani Grandal (0-for-2, 3 BB)
Who was the White Sox cold cat this afternoon?
This poll is closed
Leury García (1-for-5, 2 SO, 2 LOB)
Jace Fry (1.2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, BB)
Aaron Bummer (.1 IP, H, BB)
South Side Sox Roll Call
|Roll Call Info|
|Commenter list||AnoHito, BillyK0chFanClub, David John Craven, FootlongComiskeyDog, GrinnellSteve, Gutteridge70, Mark P. Liptak, Nello Rubio, NothinbutNets7, Ozziesox, Pudge7227, Right Size Wrong Shape, Schoolly_D, Trooper Galactus, WIN05, baines03, katiesphil, maurysmiddleson, ruffster, shumway, venom truth, wissoxfan83|
|9||Right Size Wrong Shape||9|
|16||Mark P. Liptak||2|
|17||David John Craven||2|
There were 225 comments on this afternoon’s gamethread, and our own Nello Rubio took the cake with 40 of those 225.
baines03, FootlongComiskeyDog, and GrinnellSteve each earned two upvotes for their observations today.