Coming off of two straight games that went into extras and were decided by one run, Sunday’s rubber match between the White Sox and Tigers in Detroit went much more how Chicago and their fans envisioned. The White Sox absolutely dominated in a blowout victory, scoring 11 runs on 12 hits and trailing just once the whole game.
Vince Velasquez, who came into the season fighting to be a fifth starter for the Sox, was actually surprisingly solid for the Sox on Sunday afternoon in a spot start: four innings, two runs on three hits, with two walks and four strikeouts in just his ninth start of the season. The only mistake Velasquez really made was a two-run home run he gave up to Willi Castro on the second batter of the game for Detroit. This is what his pitching chart looked like.
On the Detroit side, starter Drew Hutchinson lasted just 4 2⁄3 innings, allowing six runs on seven hits with two walks and four strikeouts. With the exception of a solo home run to AJ Pollock to lead off the second that tied the game, Hutchinson actually fared pretty well up until the fifth inning. In the fifth, he was really done in by allowing two of his six hits and both of his walks. The second walk came with the bases loaded for Gavin Sheets, giving the Sox the lead. His inherited runners left when Hutchinson was bounced from the game all were cashed in, with Andrew Vaughn’s first career grand slam. You can see Hutchinson’s pitch chart for this afternoon below.
It should be no surprise that Gavin Sheets RBI walk to give the White Sox a 3-2 lead in the fifth they would never look back from was the biggest pressure play, coming in at a leverage index of 3.89.
Nobody faced as much pressure in this afternoon’s game as Jimmy Lambert, totaling a pLI of 2.59. He came into the game with the bases loaded for Detroit in the fifth and the Sox up five. Lambert did give up two runs, so he didn’t handle the pressure as well as he would have liked.
Not much of a surprise that Andrew Vaughn’s clutch, two-out grand slam to really blow the game open for the Sox in the fifth had the game’s highest WPA, at .267
Gavin Sheets drew the bases-loaded walk in the fifth that gave the White Sox the lead for good. Going 2-for-4 with two RBIs, two runs and a walk, it should be not much of a surprise he’s also the game’s top performer, with a .225 WPA.
Hardest hit: Eloy Jiménez’s mammoth, two-run home run in the seventh was the hardest hit ball, at 112.5 mph and with an xBA of 1.000. Seeing Eloy admire his handiwork was a thing of beauty.
Weakest contact: Eric Haase’s pop out for the first out in the sixth inning for the Tigers had the weakest contact, coming in at a measly 64.1 mph.
Luckiest hit: Spencer Torkelson’s leadoff single for Detroit in the bottom of the fourth was the luckiest hit of the game, with an xBA of only .070.
Toughest out: AJ Pollock’s one-out line out in the top of the fourth was the toughest out. It was hit at 107.1 mph, with an xBA of .670.
Longest hit: Eloy’s two-run homer was the longest hit, at 450 feet.
Magic Number: 3 1⁄2
The White Sox are now only 3 1⁄2 games behind the Guardians after taking two of three from Detroit and Minnesota finally getting at a win over Cleveland. On Monday, the Guardians finish their series with the Twins while Chicago is off, so the huge series this week with start with the White Sox either three or four games back of Cleveland.
Who was this afternoon’s MVP in the win vs. the Tigers?
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Eloy Jiménez: 3-for-4 with a homer, three RBIs and a triple short of the cycle. 068 WPA
Gavin Sheets: 2-for-4 with a walk and two RBIs. .225 WPA
Andrew Vaughn: 1-for-4 with first career grand slam and a .200 WPA
Who was the Cold Cat in this afternoon’s win?
This poll is closed
José Ruiz: 1 IP, H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 Ks, -098 WPA.
José Abreu: 1-for-4, BB, 3 LOB, -071 WPA.
Romy González: 0-for-4, 3 K, 1 LOB, -049 WPA.