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MLB: Chicago White Sox at Washington Nationals
Going yard: Yoán Moncada launched a home run to give the White Sox the lead in the seventh.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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Nationals 4, White Sox 3: Coming up just short

Chicago had opportunities, but in high-leverage moments Washington came through in the clutch

The Nationals (67-85) evened up the series with a 4-3 victory, as the White Sox (58-94) bullpen faltered down the stretch.

With José Ureña and Jackson Rutledge starting on the mound, it seemed as though this game could be a slugfest, but that was not the case. Through three innings, the game was scoreless, as the White Sox only had two hits, and the Nationals only one.

However, Luis Robert Jr. gave the White Sox offense a spark in the top of the fourth, because of course he did. In the first and only pitch of the plate appearance, Rutledge threw an off-speed offering that caught far too much of the plate, and Robert was not fooled. La Pantera took advantage and launched a 386-foot home run, for his 37th blast of the season.

With the score still 1-0 in the bottom of the sixth, the Nationals finally got on the board against Ureña. Washington center fielder Jacob Young led off with a triple, and he proceeded to score on a sacrifice fly by right fielder Lane Thomas. Ureña made it through the sixth without allowing any further damage, and he finished with only one run allowed in six innings to collect a strong quality start.

In the seventh, Yoán Moncada opened an at-bat by crushing a curveball that he was well-prepared for. It was Moncada’s ninth home run this season, and it traveled 412 feet. That solo blast put the White Sox back in the driver’s seat, as the score was 2-1 heading into the seventh inning stretch.

In the bottom half, much to the Nationals’ delight, Ureña was no longer on the mound. Aaron Bummer took over, and he retired Dominic Smith leading off the inning. However, Bummer walked Ildemaro Vargas and gave up a single to Carter Kieboom. That single allowed Vargas to advance to third with one out, making the lead precarious. Bummer picked up a clutch strikeout of Drew Millas with a sweeper on the outside edge for the second out of the inning, and Bryan Shaw took over so that the South Siders would have the platoon advantage for a key plate appearance. However, the results did not work out, as Shaw missed his spot with a 1-1 slider and Joey Meneses drove it out to left-center. Just like that, Washington had a 4-2 lead.

The White Sox went down in order in the eighth, but they had some life in the ninth against closer Kyle Finnegan. Robert led off with a double that left the bat at 113.0 mph, and although Eloy Jiménez grounded out, Moncada cut the deficit in half with an RBI single. Andrew Vaughn struck out, but Trayce Thompson kept the game alive with a walk. Up to the plate stepped Elvis Andrus, who fell behind 0-2; rather than waste a pitch Finnegan threw a fastball that was mighty close to the heart of the plate. Andrus lined it to right, and off the bat, it appeared to have a chance to do damage, but Thomas made the play to end the game.

The rubber match of this series will happen on Thursday afternoon, and the probable starters are Jesse Scholtens (4.77 ERA, 4.97 FIP, 0.4 fWAR) and Josiah Gray (4.07 ERA, 5.02 FIP, 1.4 fWAR). NBC Sports Chicago and WMVP 1000 AM will cover the game, and the first pitch is scheduled for 12:05 p.m. Central.


Six Pack of Stats

FanGraphs

Pressure Play
The line out by Elvis Andrus that ended the game had a 5.47 LI, making it the play with the highest leverage throughout the game.

Pressure Cooker
Joey Meneses, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter, had a 3.92 pLI, delivering an enormous home run in his only plate appearance.

Top Play
The three-run homer by Meneses boosted Washington’s win probability by 50.6% (36.3% to 86.9%).

Top Performer
Meneses earns this award, too, as he led the way with a 50.6% WPA.


Hardest Hit
The double by Robert in the ninth inning had a 113.0 mph exit velocity.

Weakest Contact
A ground out by Lane Thomas in the seventh inning was hit at 57.5 mph.

Luckiest Hit
The single by Keibert Ruiz in the fourth registered a .210 xBA.

Toughest Out
A line out by Luis García in the fifth had a .520 xBA.

Longest Hit
Yoán Moncada’s home run traveled 412 feet to take honors over the double by Korey Lee (389 feet) and the homers by Robert (386) and Meneses (382).

Magic Number: .500
There are 10 games left in the regular season, and the White Sox will have to win exactly half of them to avoid losing 100 or more games.

Glossary

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


Poll

Who was the White Sox MVP?

This poll is closed

  • 69%
    Luis Robert Jr: 3-for-4, HR, 22.9% WPA
    (9 votes)
  • 0%
    Yoán Moncada: 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, 21.2% WPA
    (0 votes)
  • 30%
    José Ureña: 6 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 4 K, 19.2% WPA
    (4 votes)
13 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who was the White Sox Cold Cat?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    Elvis Andrus: 0-for-4, -24.4% WPA
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Eloy Jiménez: 0-for-4, K, -14.7% WPA
    (0 votes)
  • 25%
    Andrew Vaughn: 0-for-4, K, -15.3% WPA
    (3 votes)
  • 50%
    Bryan Shaw: 1⁄3 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 0 K, -50.0% WPA
    (6 votes)
12 votes total Vote Now

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