The one where they kept pitching to José Ramírez for some reason
Maybe it’s just one of those days. I’m not exactly sure what to think about this team. They have one of the highest run differentials in all of baseball, at +33. At the time of this being written, they’re actually tied with the Dodgers for having the best run differential in the Majors. They have a record above .500.
When they’re good, they’re great, but when they’re bad, they’re Bad. Yeah, capital B bad.
Lucas Giolito was looking to rebound from his prior start: On April 28 vs. the Tigers, his changeup seemed to miss bats like it’s famous for, but he still yielded four runs off five hits, and was left in to pitch well past the 100-pitch mark. Today, Giolito showed signs of improvement: The changeup recorded a 35% CSW (called strikes + whiffs), an elite number for that pitch. The fastball wasn’t too far behind, with a 30% CSW — the average spin rate on the fastball today (2379), however, was less than his yearly average (2425). Overall, Giolito threw 57 pitches for strikes, in this 97-pitch performance.
Zach Plesac didn’t pitch a clean inning until the fifth — and after a handful of walks, an errant pickoff attempt, and hitting José Abreu with a pitch, I’m not exactly sure if it’s luck on Plesac’s part that the White Sox did not capitalize on his mistakes. Plesac’s fastball was his most thrown and most effective pitch today, garnering a 30% CSW. Plesac experienced an uptick in velocity on all four pitches he threw, topping out at 96.1 mph on the fastball. He threw 110 pitches in 5 2⁄3 innings, including four walks. Despite many counts being worked up, White Sox runners reaching base, and command issues, Plesac was still able to wiggle out with a shutout.
Today’s pressure play, with a LI of 3.58, is something you’d be surprised loses ball games. Zach Plesac was able to nab Jake Lamb with a strikeout with the bases loaded in the bottom of the third inning with two out. This strikeout ended the inning and allowed Plesac to wriggle free from the talons of the, uh, notorious Jake Lamb.
Your aunt emailed you an instant pot recipe for Lamb! With a pLI of 1.48, Jake found himself in some opportunistic places to drive runs in, including the aforementioned third inning play above. I’d elaborate and tell you if he managed any of that, but I will say he went 0-for-4 on a day Yermín Mercedes was apparently being punished by the school disciplinarian for being late to class.
Perhaps a play that set the table early for Cleveland to tack on the runs later on, Cesar Hernández homered off Lucas Giolito in the third inning. The solo shot made it 1-0, and was Hernández’s second home run of the season.
It’s just one of those days where everyone in the White Sox box score section of FanGraphs dot com has a negative WPA. Well, nearly everyone. To save the day, reliever José Ruiz with a colossal, mind-blowing WPA of 0.04 is today’s White Sox top performer. Ruiz pitched two-thirds of an inning in relief, and gave up no hits, no runs, nothin’.
Andrew Vaughn’s fourth inning single off Zach Plesac was the hardest-hit ball of the game, at 110.0 mph. Vaughn went 2-for-4, and has a .745 OPS after today.
Magic Number: “not great”
Before coming up with what I’d talk about here, I was curious about the White Sox hitting with runners in scoring position. Based on today’s outcome, I assumed the answer was along the lines of “not great.” Today, they left 15 runners on base. As a team in 2021, they’re collectively slashing .208/.333/.416 with two out; .251/.338/.439 overall.
South Side Sox Gamethread Stats
What! Upset special in a 140-comment gamethread!
uribe down wins a squeaker over stalwarts steely3000 and AnoHito:
And it’s perhaps good the victory was snatched, because we might not be seeing UD for awhile, per this most-rec’d comment:
Kudos also to pointerbabe, who was especially on her green game today.