Come one, come all! The White Sox have won yet another baseball game! Despite once again scoring in the first inning only to rarely threaten for the rest of the afternoon, they managed to pepper the Angels with enough hits to do some damage. Vince Velásquez played the role of stopper, and the bullpen had a blissfully undramatic set of appearances. All in all, a breath of fresh air, no?
Vince Velásquez turned in easily the finest start of his brief tenure with the White Sox, holding the Angels scoreless over 5 2⁄3 innings and coming a strike away against Mike Trout from making it an even six before the to-that-point tolerable drizzle turned to a blast of heavy drops and forced the umpires to cut the action short before the conclusion of the at-bat. Naturally, this was much to the chagrin of both pitcher and hitter, who clearly wished to finish their entertaining, eight-pitch battle:
Vince’s fastball was once again effective, drawing nine whiffs and four more called strikes for a solidly above-average 37% CSW, and for the first time this season he was able to supplement it with a knockout secondary pitch. He threw his curveball a season-high 20 times today, using its nine called strikes to get ahead in the count and avoid the walk issues that plagued his first three starts. Velásquez’s stuff isn’t as wow-worthy as it was earlier in his career, but striking out Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani back-to-back — as he did in the fourth inning — isn’t something that one typically stumbles into.
His overall 37% CSW was easily his best of the year, and his 78 pitches looked like this on the whole:
Opposite Velasquez, José Suarez battled as much as one could reasonably anticipate as a lefthander without top-notch velocity against one of the closest things the White Sox will have to a complete lineup until Yoán Moncada’s return.
Though he’d only thrown it one out of every five pitches entering today, Suarez led with his changeup against the Sox righty-dominant lineup, trying to keep them off-balance and off his fastball, which was relatively straight and in a hittable 92-93 mph range. He had managed to scatter most of the team’s hits against him until he attempted and failed to get through the heart of the order a third time without a scratch.
You’ll see the video of what that looked like in a moment. Here’s what Suarez’s line on the afternoon looked like:
It was yet another relatively low-pressure game, with the day’s peak 2.60 LI arriving with the third out of the fifth inning, a David Fletcher fly out to center field with the tying run 90 feet away.
Fletcher’s 1.30 pLI was the highest total for any individual, with the clutch-time fly out nullifying the benefit of his lone hit.
After a dismal performance in the wake of receiving the highest pressure-point of any player yesterday, Luis Robert responded by adding the most win probability of any player today, with his three-run jack in the fifth inning increasing the Sox odds of winning by 14.3%.
While Robert’s dinger was the game-breaker, the overall value award belongs to Josh Harrison, whose two hits — including a hustle double to set the table for La Pantera’s blast — will hopefully pull him out of the slump that’s encompassed his first month in black and white.
Hardest Hit: For what felt like only the second (or maybe third) time this season, a 107.7 mph José Abreu line drive found grass for a single, this time against Suarez in the fourth inning.
Weakest Contact: Say what you want about bunts, the sacrifice laid down by Reese McGuire in the sixth inning was incredibly pleasing to the eye, tapping perfectly down the third base line at a mere 28.1 mph to advance the runner.
Luckiest Hit: The second of the three runs scored on Robert’s blast was Tim Anderson, who had reached moments prior on a seeing-eye infield single that had an expected batting average of just .110.
Toughest Out: Today, it was the Halos’ turn to complain about the dead ball, as the 107.4 mph scorcher that Brandon Marsh yanked into Adam Engel’s glove in right-center field had an 85% hit probability.
Longest Hit: 412 feet, one more time for good measure:
Magic Number: 0
Zero errors, and zero pitching walks (through 32 hitters, until Liam Hendriks put on his customary baserunner before shutting things down). Play clean baseball, win clean games. See what happens without a metric brick-ton of free bases for the opposition?
Who was the MVP of this 4-0 win?
This poll is closed
Tim Anderson (2-for-4, HR, 2 R)
Luis Robert (1-for-4, HR, 3 RBI)
Josh Harrison (2-for-2, 2B, R)
Vince Velásquez (5 2⁄3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 SO)
Who was the Cold Cat in this rare victory?
This poll is closed
Jake Burger (0-for-4, 3 SO)
Reese McGuire (0-for-3)
Adam Engel (1-for-4)