It wasn’t just the White Sox facing off against the Astros for the second night — more importantly, it was also the two best pitchers in the American League showcasing why either should be the Cy Young winner this year. Dealin’ Dylan Cease dueled with a 39-year-old Justin Verlander, that might just be having his best season after the dreaded Tommy John surgery. Would one out-ace the other?
Let’s break this game down.
Dylan Cease appeared to be feeling the pressure of this game tonight. His night was not bad by any means, but he was certainly outpitched. His defense didn’t help, and all the balls in the air were caught at the warning track. Cease, well-known for his slider, used that quite a bit. Yet with a high pitch count from some rather long innings, Cease was only able to make it through five, striking out four, walking three, and allowing three runs on six hits.
Oh, and this beautiful pickoff happened.
Cease’s 93-pitch outing looked like this:
Justin Verlander lasted longer than Cease by two innings, but his line score is almost identical. In seven innings, Verlander allowed three earned runs off of eight hits, walked one, and also struck out four. However, if we really want to break this down, Verlander’s FIP was 2.40 while Cease ended his day at just 1.06. Perhaps Dylan Cease is the winner of this battle after all.
Verlander’s 103-pitch outing looked like this:
I have a feeling this is going to be all about a certain play, but let’s go. When Gavin Sheets doubled off of Justin Verlander in the seventh, he was able to plate Josh Harrison and Seby Zavala. He then advanced to third on an error by Kyle Tucker. The pressure was on, and the LI was 3.61.
Gavin Sheets came in to do it all, and that he did. Pinch-hitting and eventually ending the night in right field was a good call, as he brought two runners in. Sheets ended the night with a pLI of 3.61.
Please see the above pressure play! Once again, Gavin Bonds, whoops, I mean Sheets, tied the game and put the Sox right back in the game in the seventh. The WPA for the play was .411.
Yoán Moncada might know clutch, but Gavin Sheets was the player the Sox needed tonight to tie up the game and play great defense. He walked away with a WPA of 0.41.
Hardest hit: Eloy Jiménez had two very hard hit balls, one was a third-inning ground out at 105.5 mph, and the winner was his sixth-inning single that was hit at 105.6 mph.
Weakest contact: Mauricio Dubon’s second-inning single was gently tapped at 69.3 mph.
Luckiest hit: José Abreu’s eighth-inning single only had an xBA of .070.
Toughest out: Warning track power was very real tonight, and something Andrew Vaughn dealt with. His sixth inning fly out had an xBA of .600.
Longest hit: José Altuve’s fifth-inning home run traveled 400 feet.
Magic Number: 3
Tonight was just the third matchup of starting pitchers with sub-2.00 ERAs (minimum 20 starts) since 1969.
Here is another stat, courtesy of my friend Marj, who was hoping I was doing the Bird App Recap.
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?
This poll is closed
Gavin Sheets: 1 H, 2 RBI, 0.41 WPA
Yoán Moncada: 1 H, 1 RBI, 0.14 WPA
José Abreu: 3 H, 1 R, 0.03 WPA
Dylan Cease: 5 IP, 4 K, held his own against Verlander
Jimmy Lambert: 1 H, 2 K, 0.10 WPA, 1 IP, W
Who was your White Sox Cold Cat?
This poll is closed
AJ Pollock: 0-for-4, 1 K, -0.22 WPA
Yasmani Grandal: 1-for-4. -0.11 WPA
Andrew Vaughn: 0-for-4, -0.13
TLR & Rick Hahn for making Vaughn play right field