The White Sox (90-68) started their two-game series against the Reds (82-76) on Tuesday, and the South Siders were ready for Cincinnati. The White Sox were in the driver’s seat from start to finish during this one-sided win at Guaranteed Rate Field. Let’s take a look at how it happened.
Reynaldo López jumped out to a fast start, and he ultimately ended up with a quality start and a well-deserved victory. López retired 13 of the first 14 Reds he faced; in the first four innings, the only Red to reach base was Joey Votto, who singled.
After Votto’s single, the next Red to have a successful plate appearance against López was Eugenio Suárez, who hit a solo home run. At the time, that trimmed the Reds’ deficit to two (3-1), and that was as close as Cincinnati got. Overall, this was quite an encouraging performance for López, who has made a strong case to be a key part of the pitching staff come October. López only allowed one run on two hits in six innings, striking out four while walking zero.
It is also impressive that López only needed 81 pitches to get through those six strong innings.
Riley O’Brien made his MLB debut, and it did not go well. Unfortunately for O’Brien, the White Sox came out with an aggressive approach, and they made quite a bit of sharp contact.
With one out on the first, Luis Robert crushed a line drive with an exit velocity of 111.5 mph, and it cleared the center field wall. Then, in the second, Yoán Moncada hit a moonshot for the South Siders’ second solo homer in as many innings. After issuing a pair of walks, O’Brien was out of the game. He went one and one-third innings, he allowed two runs on two hits, and he issued three walks. On the bright side, his K/9 rate is off to a good start, as he struck out two in those one and one-third innings.
Here is a closer look at O’Brien’s 42-pitch outing:
In the top of the eighth, when the White Sox led by a score of 5-1, Asdrubal Cabrera batted against Aaron Bummer with two on and no outs. Cabrera grounded into a fielder’s choice in which the White Sox got the force out at second. This play had a leverage index of 1.78, which was the highest of the game.
On average, Asdrubal Cabrera faced the most high-pressure situations out of any player in this game, with a pLI of 1.78. Cabrera’s only plate appearance was that force out that he grounded into in the eighth.
The first inning home run by Luis Robert increased the White Sox’s odds of winning the game by 10.0% (.100 WPA).
In terms of WPA, López was tonight’s top performer, finishing at .254.
Hardest hit: Luis Robert hit his eighth inning home run about as sharply as he could. That blast left the bat at 111.6 mph, and it gave the White Sox a 7-1 lead. This edged out his first inning homer, which had an exit velocity of 111.5 mph.
Weakest contact: Leury García’s sacrifice bunt left the bat at only 29.3 mph. Ironically, the next in line for this award was Luis Robert’s second inning ground out (55.9 mph exit velocity).
Luckiest hit: The sixth inning single by Tim Anderson had an xBA of .400, which was just enough to take the cake.
Toughest out: Tyler Stephenson’s third inning line out (100.8 mph exit velocity, 17-degree launch angle) had an xBA of .490.
Longest hit: That eighth inning home run by Robert claims another award. That one traveled 445 feet, and to the surprise of nobody, it was the longest hit of the game.
Magic Number: 15
For the first time in 15 years, the White Sox won their 90th game of the regular season. The most recent time the South Siders did this was 2006, when they finished 90-72. Fortunately, this time, the AL Central does not have any other teams with 90+ wins.
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
Reynaldo López: 6 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 4 K, .254 WPA
Luis Robert: 2-for-4, 2 HR, BB, 3 RBI, .093 WPA
Gavin Sheets: 2-for-3, HR, 2 RBI, .096 WPA
Yoán Moncada: 1-for-3, HR, BB, .081 WPA
Who was the White Sox Cold Cat?
This poll is closed
Tim Anderson: 1-for-5, 2 K, -.059 WPA
José Abreu: 0-for-5, K, -.054 WPA
South Side Sox Roll Call
There were 150 comments on tonight’s gamethread, and steely3000 claims the gold medal for total number of comments, with 24.
Steeplechased got two recs on one of his comments, which was the most from tonight’s victory.