Who could have imagined 10 games under .500 could feel so good! The White Sox moved to 19-29 with Sunday afternoon’s win over the Kansas City Royals (14-34), completing their first series sweep since last August on the back of six strong innings from Lance Lynn, Luis Robert Jr.’s league-high eighth home run of the month, and a clutch, go-ahead triple from Romy González. Now trailing the division-leading Twins by just seven games, pending the results of their late-afternoon tilt in Anaheim, many are reportedly asking: Are the Sox back?
The answer? Probably not! Lance Lynn, however, might be, as he’s now delivered back-to-back quality starts for the first time of the 2023 season, allowing just four hits over six innings and avoiding any damage on the scoreboard aside from a two-run homer (you guessed it, Michael Massey, whose three home runs and nine runs driven in against the Sox make up roughly a third of his entire output as a major leaguer). Lynn seems to have once again found some harmony in his pitch mix after experimenting for much of the season, avoiding the middle of the plate with his four-seamer and throwing the cutter, sinker, curveball, and changeup — the latter of which appears to be earning a substantial role in his arsenal for the first time in his career — between 10 and 19 times each. Lynn’s CSW and swinging strike rates were nothing special, but neither is Kansas City’s lineup, and even his B-stuff was enough to get the job done today.
Overall, Lynn’s even 100-pitch outing looked like this:
Long reliever Carlos Hernández worked the first two innings of this one in an opener capacity before giving way to young righthander Max Castillo, who allowed five runs in an underwhelming 4 2⁄3 innings, his fourth bulk appearance of the year. Castillo, one of two players the Royals received from Toronto in last summer’s Whit Merrifield deal, flashed a low- to mid-90s fastball that had some effectiveness, but failed to fool any hitters with a mediocre slider-changeup combination and had difficulty putting either of them in places where Sox hitters — who are typically not difficult to bait into taking bad swings drawing weak contact — were baited into taking bad swings and drawing weak contact.
Here’s what Castillo’s pitch breakdown looks like:
Castillo’s 76-pitch outing looked like this:
With no outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, I could have sworn I heard the exasperated screams of erstwhile SSS Six Packer Colleen Sullivan as Hanser Alberto opted to lay down a bunt with a game-high 2.85 LI and appeared to subsequently injure his shoulder while gesturing himself “safe.” Folks, he was not safe.
Aided by the aforementioned bunt situation and removal from the game, Alberto’s 1.79 pLI was the highest of today’s game, just edging out Keynan Middleton’s 1.74.
Despite a low-impact start to the season, Romy González had his afternoon in the sun today, adding .220 WPA to the Sox chances with his go-ahead, two-run triple in the fifth.
It tracks, then, that González’s .253 WPA in the cumulative was easily enough to take the day.
Hardest hit: Though there were multiple longballs this afternoon, the 109 mph single that Edward Olivares smoked through the infield in the second was the hardest contact of the game.
Weakest contact: Keynan Middleton fooled Matt Duffy badly enough in the seventh inning to induce a 40.3 mph dribbler for a ground out, the softest non-bunt contact of the day.
Luckiest hit: Following up his not-lucky triple, Romy González reached base his next time up on a soft single with just a .080 xBA.
Toughest out: MJ Melendez smashed a line drive with a .730 xBA off of Lance Lynn in the sixth, but unfortunately for him, it was smashed directly at first baseman Andrew Vaughn for an out.
Longest hit: Michael Massey outdid Luis Robert Jr. today, seeing his home run reach 405 feet.
Magic Number: 12
On May 23, 2019, the soon-to-be-champion Washington Nationals bottomed out at 19-31, 12 games worse than .500. As bad as this White Sox team is, they’ve somehow elevated themselves into territory in which we’re probably going to keep hearing about that for at least another few weeks. Lol.
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 today’s White Sox MVP?
This poll is closed
Lance Lynn (6 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 6 SO)
Romy González (3-for-3, 3B, R, 2 RBI)
Luis Robert Jr. (1-for-3, BB, HR, R, RBI)
Rick Hahn’s SuperBullpen (3 IP, 0 H, BB, 4 SO)
Who was today’s White Sox Cold Cat?
This poll is closed
Jake Burger (0-for-4)
Yasmani Grandal (0-for-4)
Hanser Alberto (0-for-1)