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Six Pack of Stats: Athletics 3, White Sox 1

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Offense continues to punt games with third-string lineup.

Squinting, unable to see any offense.
FanGraphs

On to the next one, part two: The White Sox bats went ice cold after Tuesday’s 6-1 victory, and now they’ll have to hope they can find some heat again coming home to host Boston (80-62) in a big series this weekend. On the bright side, there are no more late games and weird start times for the foreseeable future!


The Starters

Reynaldo López didn’t have particularly good command today, with control of his slider escaping him in particular. It’s been a good enough out-pitch this year to allow him to more or less abandon his changeup and curveball, but it ran just a 14% CSW today, drawing whiffs on just two of the 15 swings hitters put on it. López’s fastball made up for some of the lost ground, averaging more than 96 mph and drawing CSW and whiff rates north of 35%. He was a one-pitch pitcher today, and it showed in his final stat line, striking out two while walking three.

All that being said, López did an admirable job keeping the White Sox in the game when it became clear that an offensive outburst was once again most likely wishful thinking. He worked around trouble in the fourth and fifth to keep it a two-run game, and even the runs he allowed weren’t the function of being hit around, as a stolen base and blown pickoff were responsible for getting those final two runs around the bases. Despite taking the loss, López’s ERA remains an excellent 2.05.

Pulled after five innings and 90 pitches, López’s 90 outing today resembles what Dallas Keuchel’s might have yesterday, were he not sent out for the sixth:

Baseball Savant

On the Oakland side, Sean Manaea once again bamboozled a frazzled Sox lineup stocked mostly with second- and third-stringers. There were times during the game when Manaea was dotting his deceptive sinker wherever he wanted on the edges of the plate, but there were also plenty of pitches down the middle that Sox bats simply couldn’t do anything with. Manaea has suddenly learned how to strike out hitters this year, and he sat down nine today over his seven innings. He’s been quite good, but there’s little excuse for missing some of these pitches for strike three, both in and out of the zone:

On the whole, Manaea ran an unexceptional 30% CSW rate, but he was excellent in baiting hitters into strike three when needed, and he also made full use of Oakland’s excellent defense and cavernous outfield dimensions, recording four outs on batted balls hit harder than 100 mph. His 101-pitch outing looked like this:

Baseball Savant

Pressure Play

Logically, it feels unlikely that a team would win a game in which their pitcher committed an unforced error during the biggest moment of the game, and that’s exactly what happened today. With the game tied at one and runners on first and second with one out in the bottom of the third inning, the leverage index was 2.18, the highest of the game. In that moment, Reynaldo López threw away a pickoff attempt, allowing Starling Marte to score and moving Matt Olson to third, where he would subsequently score on a sacrifice fly for the final run of the game.


Pressure Cooker

Not counting Gavin Sheets’ single late-inning, pinch-hit plate appearance, Andrew Vaughn faced more pressure than anybody else in this game today, totaling a pLI of 1.23. Sadly, he couldn’t do much with it, going 0-for-4 on the day.


Top Play

Tony Kemp’s second-inning triple to open the scoring had the game’s highest WPA at .134; on Chicago’s end, José Abreu’s game-tying RBI single a half-inning later led the way at .108.


Top Performer

For the second straight day, an Oakland starter was the most valuable performer on the night, as Sean Manaea led all players with a .28 on the day in his seven-inning, five-hit, one-run effort.


Smackdown

Hardest hit: Luis Robert’s scorched eight-inning single against the soft-tossing Sergio Romo was the biggest rocket of the day, reaching 109.4 mph with a .900 xBA.

Weakest contact: In the top of the ninth, Andrew Chafin fooled Yasmani Grandal badly, inducing a weak chop into the ground at just 60.8 mph.

Luckiest hit: Starling Marte put his speed to his advantage in a few different ways this afternoon, as his first-inning ground ball single against Reynaldo López had an xBA of just .110.

Toughest out: Andrew Vaughn has run into a lot of tough outs this year, including the unluckiest of the day, as his 102 mph fly ball against Manaea in the fourth inning had an xBA of .690. He’s probably ready for the A’s to have a new stadium, too.

Longest hit: Ironically, with no balls leaving the yard this afternoon, that Vaughn fly out was tied with Jed Lowrie’s second-inning double for the farthest batted ball at the game, with both projected at 391 feet.


Magic Number: 0

Andrew Vaughn had zero hits in 14 plate appearances at the Coliseum this week; after a scorching-hot June through August, the rookie has some more adjusting to do before the postseason.


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 was the "MVP" of today’s loss?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    Reynaldo López (5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K)
    (9 votes)
  • 70%
    José Abreu (2-for-4, RBI, 2 LOB)
    (24 votes)
  • 2%
    Luis Robert (2-for-4, 1 LOB)
    (1 vote)
34 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who was the Cold Cat of today’s loss?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    Danny Mendick (0-for-3, 2 K, LOB)
    (6 votes)
  • 79%
    Andrew Vaughn (0-for-4, K, 2 LOB)
    (27 votes)
  • 2%
    Seby Zavala (0-for-2, K)
    (1 vote)
34 votes total Vote Now

South Side Sox Roll Call

Another odd start time and uninspiring effort keeps the comments at a light 157 today, with katiesphil leading the way with 30 appearances:

Perhaps in fitting fashion, nary a single comment popped into the green today. Better luck at home, folks!