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Six Pack of Stats: White Sox 8, Tigers 7

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Bullpen resists urge to waste offensive outburst, Keuchel’s strong start.

Lord have mercy. Technically speaking none of this matters, but that would have been a small comfort had Mike Wright and the White Sox (89-68) bullpen actually succeeded in tearing down the 8-2 seventh inning lead built by Dallas Keuchel and the Sox offense. Nonetheless, a win is a win, and it’s good to see the offense finally getting some mojo back. There’s also a silver lining for those who care about history: moving three clear of Raisel Iglesias with his 36th save of the season, Liam Hendriks has just about guaranteed that he’ll be the first Pale Hose to lead the AL in that category since Bobby Thigpen’s record-setting 1990.


The Starters

Dallas Keuchel had perhaps his most effective outing in months, working around clumps of baserunners as per usual (though fewer than in recent outings) and holding the Tigers to two runs over five innings, his third straight start going at least five innings and allowing two earned runs. At least one of today’s two was a product of favorable home-field scoring, with the game-opening run scoring only after a Leury García’s double-clutch prevented the inning from ending before the fact. Overall, his 26% CSW was his highest in exactly a month, and just the second time in his last eight starts that he’s reached that number.

He did enjoy a fair amount of good luck, which is what usually needs to happen for him to hold a team to less than three runs. Miguel Cabrera twice barreled up balls at over 100 MPH, but because they were on the ground and he has Hall-of-Famer-on-his-last-contract speed, both turned into outs. There was also Willi Castro’s fifth inning flyout, which will make another appearance here later on and would have been a home run in 24 out of 30 Major League ballparks, most of which don’t have Comerica Park’s cavernous center field dimensions.

Fortunately, TLR seems to have finally heeded the desperate pleas of just about everybody, pulling Keuchel after five solid innings and under 100 pitches. On the whole, Keuchel’s 91-pitch outing looked like this:

Matt Manning’s bumpy rookie campaign has been one of the few downsides to what’s otherwise been a pretty promising rebuild season for Detroit, and the White Sox lineup today proved to be quite the pothole. After holding them to one hit through the first three innings, Sox hitters were not fooled their second time through the lineup, punishing him for his three consecutive walks with six runs before batting around and chasing him from the game after allowing seven consecutive hitters to reach base.

Manning’s CSW rate was an abysmal 16%; he only got four whiffs out of 37 swings, and his control was poor enough—and stuff hittable enough—that he hardly got any called strikes, either. Point blank: if a pitcher’s control is bad, they need to get a lot of whiffs to compensate. If they don’t get a lot of whiffs, they need to have great control and command. If a pitcher has poor control and hitters still make a ton of contact, a lot of runs are going to follow. That’s what happened today.

Manning’s 82-pitch outing looked like this:


Pressure Play

This section was written and rewritten three times, because that’s how the bounces went today: Isaac Paredes’s ninth inning plate appearance came with the tying run on first base and no outs, leading to a 5.40 leverage index, highest of the game.


Pressure Cooker

Hendriks’ tense ninth inning gave him a game-high 4.31 pLI, and among hitters, Paredes and Eric Haase both felt the heat equally, each ending with an even 1.80 pLI.


Top Play

Hernández’s bases-loaded double in a 1-1 game in the fourth inning that was, until Mike Wright’s arrival, the most critical plate appearance of the game was also good for adding 18% to the White Sox win probability (.180 WPA), highest of any single play


Top Performer

The offense was spread out pretty evenly across the lineup, top-to-bottom. Thanks again to the aforementioned double, César’s .130 total WPA was the highest on either side.


Smackdown

Hardest hit: The Miguel Cabrera double that sparked Wright’s meltdown left the bat at 112.3 MPH, easily the highest of the game.

Weakest contact: Schoop takes the lower title of the exit velocity awards, recording easily the slowest batted ball of the game with his 50 MPH dribbler in the third.

Luckiest hit: Robbie Grossman’s bloop single in the fifth inning had a minuscule 1% hit probably (.010 xBA), but awkward positioning led to it dropping in the Bermuda Triangle between Eloy Jiménez, Luis Robert, and Leury García at short.

Toughest out: It’s hard to have tougher luck than Willi Castro did on this absolutely scorched fifth inning fly ball, which found Robert’s glove despite traveling 418 feet—second-longest of the game—with a whopping 88% hit probability.

Statcast

Longest hit: Eloy Jiménez’s suddenly-crucial seventh inning solo shot traveled 432 feet, well ahead of Castro for the longest hit of the day.


Magic Number: 6

Games until we (presumably) are never again compelled to see Mike Wright pitch in a White Sox uniform. I know he’s the last guy out of the September bullpen and it doesn’t really matter, but come on, could they really not find someone a little better who can eat those low-leverage innings without turning them into high-leverage innings?


Glossary

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


Poll

Who is your White Sox MVP this afternoon?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    Dallas Keuchel (5 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO)
    (10 votes)
  • 70%
    Eloy Jiménez (3-for-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB)
    (50 votes)
  • 15%
    Yasmani Grandal (2-for-4, 2B, HR, BB, 2 R, RBI)
    (11 votes)
71 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who is your White Sox Cold Cat today?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    Andrew Vaughn (0-for-3, R, BB)
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Yoán Moncada (0-for-3, R, BB)
    (0 votes)
  • 95%
    Mike Wright Jr. (0 IP, H, BB, HBP, 3 ER)
    (70 votes)
73 votes total Vote Now

South Side Sox Roll Call

The afternoon near-meltdown led to a boisterous 354-comment gamethread, with AnoHito responsible for 90 of those to lead the pack.

José Abreu’s post-HBP scuffle with Niko Goodrum (and the ensuing bench-clearing) led to the two most popular comments of the day: