It’s really still April, huh?
Well folks, it turns out the black jerseys weren’t a magic cure-all. That’s 10 losses in the last 11 tries for the White Sox, who dropped the opener of their four-game set with the Angels by a score of 5-1.
I suspect you’ve come to understand how putrid the Sox offense has been without any of our stats, but we’ll give them to you anyway, because we’re just that nice.
Lucas Giolito got punched straight in the mouth when he walked out to the mound for the first inning, serving up a leadoff home run to Taylor Ward and coming a pitch away from avoiding any more damage, before he left a fastball in the perfectly wrong spot to Shohei Ohtani:
After that moment, however, Lucas was nails, shutting the Halos down for the subsequent four innings and nearly making it five before letting Anthony Rendon’s second double tack on one extra. Those few missed pitches aside, Giolito’s stuff was excellent, filling up the zone with his fastball (despite middling velocity on a rainy day) and letting his dancing changeup take care of the rest, running a 39% CSW on the heater and 41% on the change piece.
His breaking pitches left a little to be desired, but when you have a fastball-changeup combo working like Giolito did today, that’s not much of a ding. On the whole, Giolito’s 99 pitches turned out like this:
With aplomb, Jimmy Herget took the spot start vacated by Noah Syndergaard’s illness, using a Bummer-esque arm slot and a dancing sinker to completely baffle Sox hitters for nine outs, with José Abreu’s first inning single being his only dent in the H column allowed. Herget’s stuff moved around quite a bit, but a 51% CSW on his slider is not something the White Sox can or should be particularly proud of.
At the end of the day, does it really matter what else I have to say about Jimmy Herget and his three innings? It could have been an orangutan throwing a blitzball on the mound and the Sox still would have managed to swing at everything and fail to string together more than one hit every four at-bats.
Herget’s 43-pitch outing looked like this:
The highest-pressure play of a highly low-pressure game was the very last, as Luis Robert’s pop-out to right field as the tying run in the ninth inning came with a 1.63 LI.
Accordingly, Robert’s pLI of 1.33 was the highest for any individual tonight, and unfortunately, he did not respond to the pressure, with another hitless night dropping his batting average to .188.
Rendon’s second double of the day to pad L.A.’s lead to 3-1 added 14.1% to their win probability, highest of any play tonight.
Austin Warren wins the unsung hero award tonight for the Angels, as his two innings of middle-inning work in relief of Jimmy Herget were worth .14 WPA, highest of anybody on either team.
Hardest Hit: Luis Robert’s fifth inning rocket found Mike Trout’s glove on the warning track despite leaving the bat at 114.8 mph. [Insert nausea emoji.]
Weakest Contact: Trout’s eighth inning tapper against Bennett Sousa came with a game-low 51 mph exit velocity.
Luckiest Hit: Taylor Ward’s ninth inning double down the left field line to tack on the Angels’ final run (and send this author homeward bound) was not particularly well-struck, and came with just a .100 expected batting average (10% hit probability).
Toughest Out: Luis Robert. 115 mph. 96% hit probability. Ah, well. Nevertheless.
Longest Hit: Shohei Ohtani’s first inning strike to dead-center field traveled 419 feet, easily the farthest of the day.
Magic Number: 2
Two hits over the last eight innings of this ballgame, against a series of pitching luminaries including Herget, Warren, Aaron Loup, and Mike Mayers. I don’t have the creative energy to come up with anything better than that. You, reader, get the same level of effort that the Sox offense displayed with myself in the audience.