The White Sox offense is still dormant, the White Sox bullpen is still allergic to keeping games close in the late innings, and the White Sox management has to this point expressed little interest in improving the underlying causes of these issues. The South Siders lost to Kansas City by a final score of 6-2 today; on to the dirty details.
Lucas Giolito’s return from the COVID-IL was effective, if far from his smoothest effort. He battled through five innings, scattering seven hits and frequently falling behind in the count, but ultimately allowing Kansas City to score just twice. His fastball velocity was down a touch, starting the first inning in an unusually low 89-91 mph range, but quickly returned to levels roughly typical of what we’ve seen of him thus far in 2022.
Fastball effectiveness wasn’t his issue; today it was command of his breaking pitches that gave him trouble. He struggled to throw both the slider — which he appears to be throwing differently than last year — and the curveball competitively, drawing just one whiff and two called strikes out of the 17 total times he threw them. Nonetheless, Giolito struck out seven, and as he frequently does, gave the team an excellent chance to win despite being without his sharpest stuff,
Giolito’s 92-pitch outing looked like this:
There probably isn’t much to say about Zack Greinke, Kansas City Royal, that hasn’t already been printed in this hallowed blog. The soft-tossing 38-year-old did what he does, mixing up six different pitches — many of which look almost identical — to the doorstep of a quality start, lowering his ERA on the season to 3.48 with 5 2⁄3 innings of two-run ball.
Lately, this section has felt like a Mad Libs in which all we have to do is fill in the name of an unremarkable righthander along with the specific combination of aggressively-used secondary pitches that held Sox hitters to between two and four hits in between five and six innings. The consistency is nice, at least.
See it in Greinke’s 100 pitches, here:
Andrew Vaughn has been one of the lineup’s few bright spots to this point, but he just couldn’t get the job done in the most pressure-packed moment of today’s game, grounding out to end the sixth inning with the bases loaded and the LI at 4.25.
Collin Snider goes back-to-back as Kansas City’s sky-holding Atlas, beating yesterday’s effort by a good margin with a 3.43 pLI supplemented by the aforementioned Vaughn at-bat.
Emmanuel Rivera gets credited with .244 WPA for his game-breaking triple in the sixth, but he’d be remiss not to credit a fair amount of that to an unfortunately lesser moment from the Man of Steal:
That one play accounted for Rivera’s .244 WPA on the day, which was good enough to lead the game.
Hardest hit: Hunter Dozier’s 109.4 mph double against Ryan Burr in the eighth was enough to snatch the title away from teammate Bobby Witt Jr.
Weakest contact: Several hitters later, Nicky Lopez’s 55 mph tapper that Burr couldn’t handle properly checked in as the softest touch of the day.
Luckiest hit: Tim Anderson’s seventh-inning infield single off Josh Staumon had a .160 xBA, standard fare for such a safety.
Toughest out: Adam Engel’s duck snort to shallow right field in the second inning falls at a .690 clip by xBA, but found Nicky Lopez’s glove tonight.
Longest hit: Witt’s fourth home run of the season (and third in six games) traveled 436 feet, beating teammate MJ Melendez’s eighth-inning bomb by eight feet.
Magic Number: 4
The White Sox are just games better than .500 since the 2021 All-Star Break. Mired in mediocrity, some might say.
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 your White Sox MVP tonight?
This poll is closed
Tim Anderson (3-for-5, RBI)
Leury García (2-for-4, RBI)
Lucas Giolito (5 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO)
Who was your White Sox cold cat tonight?
This poll is closed
Adam Engel (1-for-3, defensive miscue)
Luis Robert (0-for-4, 3 SO)
Yoán Moncada (0-for-5)
Reynaldo López (L, 2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER)