Back to the usual: Despite several lackluster late-inning comeback efforts, and Luis Robert Jr. continuing to extend a life-sized middle finger to the haters, the White Sox couldn’t close the deal and win their season series against the Astros, to whom they fell, 4-2, this afternoon. Lucas Giolito put his club in an early hole, but recovered enough to keep it in the game. But the White Sox were unable to get to Houston’s bullpen for a second straight game, falling to 14-28 on the season. Yikes.
Lucas Giolito finished six innings for the seventh consecutive start, and likely could have gone a seventh based on pure pitch count, overcoming a very difficult first inning to finish with a line of four earned runs on seven hits, striking out six while failing to issue a walk. The story was the same: He spotted up well and mostly avoided the middle of the plate with his fastball (though his mistakes was punished by a good Astros lineup). Giolito generated loads of weak contact with his slider and changeup, and in the case of the slider he seems to have a legitimately good feel on it for the first time in several seasons.
Giolito’s 88-pitch outing looked like this:
Rookie Hunter Brown was phenomenal against the quotidian ineptness of the White Sox lineup for five solid innings, allowing just one run on five hits with a walk and eight strikeouts to that point. Dusty Baker is still Dusty Baker after all these years, though, and leaving Brown in to face that lineup a third time turned out to be a mistake. The Sox were unable to lay off of his curveballs in the dirt for most of the game, and Brown was excellent at running his low-90s slider away from righties and in on the hands to lefties, but all it took were a pair of bad pitches to Luis Robert Jr. and Jake Burger to drop his line to a mere quality start, with three earned runs across six innings.
Brown’s 98-pitch outing looked like this:
Luis Robert Jr. came to the plate in the eighth inning with a 3.96 LI and a chance to engineer a comeback win with a runner on first. Unfortunately, he can’t do it all, striking out at the hands of Bryan Abreu to end his day.
It tracks, then, that the 3.05 pLI shouldered by Abreu was the highest of any player on Sunday.
Welcome back Jake Burger! His two-run dinger to chase Brown from the game was worth .188 WPA, the highest on the game.
Ryan Pressly’s .196 WPA in closing out today’s contest paced all players.
Hardest hit: This guy’s getting used to leading off the Smackdown: Luis Robert Jr. does it again, with his league-leading 11th homer rocketing off the bat at 113.6 mph.
Weakest contact: Kyle Tucker looped a single out to the opposite field at just 70.1 mph, the lowest in a hard-hitting game.
Luckiest hit: Jake Burger’s 91 mph home run had a puny .060 xBA, lowest of the day, and would have been gone in just nine of the 30 parks around the league. He got to wear the goofy gangster garb anyway.
Toughest out: David Hensley smoked a .700 xBA line drive right at Tim Anderson, which was the “luckiest” out of the day because expected batting average doesn’t account for the direction of the batted ball.
Longest hit: Robert was outdone distance-wise by his homering counterpart Yanier Díaz, who his first career homer out 424 feet in the fourth inning.
Magic Number: 2
Luis Robert, currently on an MVP pace, and Lucas Giolito, who seems to be setting himself up for a nice payday from a team that isn’t the White Sox, are the only two players on the team on pace to finish with at least 2 WAR, per Baseball-Reference.
CSW called strikes plus whiffs
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 today?
This poll is closed
Luis Robert Jr. (2-for-4, 2B, HR, RBI, R)
Jake Burger (2-for-4, HR, RBI, R)
Lucas Giolito (6 IP, 4 ER, 7 H, 0 BB, 6 SO)
Who was the White Sox Cold Cat today?
This poll is closed
Andrew Vaughn (0-for-5)
Hanser Alberto (0-for-4, 2 SO)
Yoán Moncada (0-for-3, HBP)