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Six Pack of Stats: Pirates 13, White Sox 9

At some point, maybe we’ll just stop talking about this pitching staff, but that day is not today

Brett Ballantini started at South Side Sox in 2018 after 20 years of writing on basketball, baseball and hockey, including time on the Blackhawks and White Sox beats. Follow him on Twitter @BrettBallantini and email your site feedback to

After a bright beginning and early lead that threatened to spoil Andrew McCutchen’s return to the Pirates and Pittsburgh’s home opener, the White Sox again clawed defeat from victory in a 12-7 mauling on Friday. After skating through a four-game series in Houston with passable (Lucas Giolito) to brilliant (Dylan Cease) starts, the past four have been mediocre (Cease) to horrifying (all the rest!). In the past four games, White Sox pitching has given up 44 runs and 57 hits. To the San Francisco Giants and Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Starters

Rich Hill, at 83 years old and throwing about as hard as Hanser Alberto, was understandably awful today, pitching four innings and surrendering eight hits, seven earned, three homers, and eight hard-hit balls. Lucas Giolito, in his salary-drive season tipped off by losing 25 or 50 or 75 pounds heading into 2023, and roughly 50 years younger than Hill, managed to do the mangy veteran one better, with four innings of 12-hit ball, yielding seven earned, two homers and 10 hard-hit balls. This is what we are, now; our former ace can’t out-pitch the duty geezer of baseball. Oh, and Giolito, with those 12 hits putting even more traffic on the bases than Hill, took 77 pitches to get through four frames, to Hill’s 65. For those who studied Leigh Allan’s column today, that’s 19 per inning — and that is godawful.

Giolito was the anti-MVP of this game, with an astounding -.617 WPA — a figure matched, exactly, by Hill!

While a mask is recommended for this, here are Giolito’s pitch visuals from Baseball Theater:

That outing I merely summarized above? Here’s the nitty-gritty:

Baseball Savant

Yes, Hill was bad, too. But Rich Hill is angling for the retirement home, not a nine-figure contract.

Baseball Savant

Here are Hill’s pitch visuals from Baseball Theater. They’re not good, but then, they’re not supposed to be good.

Pressure Play

In the bottom of the fourth with nobody out, Giolito had two men on when Brian Reynolds stepped up and clobbered a home run to center field, giving Pittsburgh a 7-5 lead. Reynolds’ clout sported a 2.56 LI in this seeming blowout.

Pressure Cooker

Jake Diekman faced 1.60 pLI in this game, as he desperately tried to save Chisox face. Diekman failed, recording just one out against four earned runs.

Top Play

Go figure, Reynolds’ homer, while it wasn’t his most hilarious hit of the game (that was his Yakety Sax triple-turned-inside-the-park homer), it was the most valuable hit of the game, at .244 WPA. Because he came up twice, fine, I’ll paste it here:

Top Performer

Luis Robert Jr. came in hot, with three hits, two homers and five RBIs en route to .350 WPA, but he was topped by Brian Reynolds, with six ribbies and a .427 WPA.


Hardest hit By far — and I mean, by almost 5 mph far — the crushingest contact of Friday’s game was Oscar Colás and his 112.2 mph smoke job of a home run in the ninth.

Weakest contact Hey Brett, we’re not supposed to include bunts here, what gives? Well friend, in the second inning Jason Delay did not tarry in tapping a ball 14.7 mph, and 14 feet from home plate — for a single. It was that kinda day.

Luckiest hit Believe it or not, Delay’s swinging bunt was not the luckiest hit of the day, or even of Pittsburgh’s day. That single came in the fourth, when Oneil Cruz floated a single in front of left fielder Romy González and center fielder Luis Robert Jr. It not only had a .070 XBA, but also drove in a run.

Toughest out It was a great day for Tim Anderson, whose two doubles accounted for the second- and eighth-hardest contact of the day. But he also screamed a line out to center in the seventh — right at the fielder, who denied TA on a .710 XBA smash.

Longest hit: On a 71.1 mph offering from Hill, Jake Burger clubbed a 419-foot homer to left.

It outpaced Colás’ homer by three feet.

Magic Number: 9

The Pirates scored as many runs in just their fourth and fifth innings, nine, as the White Sox did all game. You know, in my day, nine runs was enough to win yourself a ballgame, I reckon.


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


Um, sure, there was an MVP of this debacle. Three guesses who it is?

This poll is closed

  • 77%
    Luis Robert: 3-for-5, 2 HR, 5 RBI. .350 WPA
    (21 votes)
  • 3%
    Tim Anderson: 4-for-5, 2 2B, .187 WPA
    (1 vote)
  • 18%
    Jesse Scholtens: 3 IP, 3 H, ER, 2 BB, 4 K, just off of the bus and the only pitcher who didn’t suck, .006 WPA
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    Chrystal O’Keefe: VERY smartly sidestepped this clown show to actually live some actual life tonight.
    (0 votes)
27 votes total Vote Now


Who was the Cold Cat of today’s hard-fought, 13-9 loss to Pittsburgh?

This poll is closed

  • 78%
    Lucas Giolito: 4 IP, 77 pitches, 7 ER, 2 HR, completely uncompetitive start, -.617 WPA
    (18 votes)
  • 17%
    Jake Diekman: one out, 4 ER, he really sucked too, -.233 WPA
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    Jimmy Lambert: two outs, 1 ER, still really bad, -.157 WPA
    (0 votes)
  • 4%
    Brett Ballantini: Kindly took this game from workhorse O’Keefe and nearly lost his life in the process
    (1 vote)
23 votes total Vote Now

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