Los Angeles scored exactly four runs in all three of their games against the visiting Sox, and it was good enough to win two of them, including tonight’s 4-1 contest in yet another silencing of the South Side bats. This time, they had a bit of an excuse, as Shohei Ohtani has been perhaps the most unhittable pitcher on the planet over the last two-and-a-half weeks. Fittingly, the only road run of the night came on a pitch from old friend Ryan Tepera.
Enjoy the day off, folks?
Michael Kopech didn’t have his best stuff tonight, but Kopech without his best stuff is still better than most pitchers could dream of. The righthander’s fastball once again sat in the low- to mid-90s, but it’s got enough zip and run that it still got plenty of swings-and-misses, striking out six in total on the night. He couldn’t induce the Angels to bite on many of his breaking balls out of the zone, and although they did manage to get good wood on a lot of the sliders he threw in the zone, the White Sox defense managed to convert most of those batted balls into outs.
All of that was true until the second batter of the sixth inning, when Jared Walsh got a hold of Kopech’s 97th pitch of the night for a 101 mph single. As has been the norm under Tony La Russa’s White Sox, Kopech was then left in for just one hitter too long. Two more pitches and a Luis Rengifo home run later, his night was over.
Kopech’s 99-pitch outing looked like this:
Shohei Ohtani sure is something to behold. The reigning MVP has been unhittable on the mound recently, entering tonight having allowed just one run over his past 21 innings, and the White Sox offense sure wasn’t going to be the crew that stopped him. Ohtani was electric over 5 2⁄3 scoreless innings tonight, allowing five hits (all singles) and recording 11 of 17 outs via the K.
As it’s been against the Sox in the past, Ohtani’s stuff was as advertised. His slider was particularly unkind to this struggling group of hitters, drawing 12 whiffs out of 20 swings and getting the two-league MVP out of the only jam he saw, getting Josh Harrison swinging with the bases loaded in the top of the fourth inning. Ohtani’s splitter did the job nicely as well, as the Sox were unable to lay off the pitch low and out of the zone for 11 swings and six whiffs.
All in all, Pale Hose hitters swung through 24 pitches tonight, Ohtani’s second-highest total of the year. His full 108-pitch outing looked like this:
That specific slider to Josh Harrison drew to a close the highest-leverage at-bat of the night, checking in at 3.55 LI.
Gavin Sheets saw the most cumulative pressure tonight with a 1.85 pLI, which he converted into a brutal 0-for-4 day, with two strikeouts.
Turns out scoring before there’s an out does wonders for your win probability: Mike Trout’s first-inning double to drive in Taylor Ward brought home a .120 WPA in favor of the Angels.
A net neutral at the plate, Ohtani’s .129 WPA on the mound was far and away the highest of anyone on the field tonight.
Hardest hit: The second of José Abreu’s four singles tonight left the bat at a game-high 107.8 mph.
Weakest contact: Leury García recorded the two softest-hit balls of the game at 65 and 61 mph respectively. But hey, Tony said he looked good tonight:
TLR on not hitting for Garcia: ‘I’m watching Leury’s at-bats, did you see his at-bats? Walked against Ohtani. Garcia deserved it, fouled off some tough pitches, put the ball in play. That’s what I look at. Not results. It’s too easy that way.”— Daryl Van Schouwen (@CST_soxvan) June 30, 2022
Luckiest hit: Luis Robert’s single to lead off the fourth inning was the luckiest hit of the game, according to its .200 expected batting average.
Toughest out: By the same token, the .730 xBA on Gavin Sheets’ hard-hit fly out in the fourth inning was the worst luck in the game.
Longest hit: The Luis Rengifo dinger that ended Kopech’s night flew a game-high 408 feet.
Magic Number: 1 1⁄3
As we approach the halfway point in the season, Michael Kopech is 1 1⁄3 innings shy of his total from the 2021 season. Into the great unknown!
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 team’s MVP tonight?
This poll is closed
José Abreu (4-for-4)
The Bullpen (2 2⁄3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO)
Eloy Jiménez (Hit a HR In AAA)
Who was the Cold Cat tonight?
This poll is closed
Josh Harrison (0-for-4, 3 SO)
Yoán Moncada (0-for-4, 3 SO)
Gavin Sheets (0-for-4, 2 SO)