Look at these happy, smiling boys! Based on the image below, you’d NEVER guess that they’ve spent most of the season compelled to watch the 2022 White Sox, who picked up the first win of the 2022 Miguel Cairo era — how long it may last, nobody knows — with a 4-1 win over the Royals on Wednesday.
Some had a good night, some had a great night, some had entirely unremarkable nights. Let’s find out who’s who!
Lance Lynn’s season is finally rounding into form — and just in the nick of time, too!
Jokes aside, Lynn posted what might have been his most impressive outing of his abbreviated 2022, working through seven innings for the first time this season and allowing just a single earned run on four hits in the process. Lynn tied his season-high with eight punchies, the fifth time he’s reached that mark this year, and he walked none, making it nine straight starts with zero or one walk. Though his four-seamer is still far flatter than he’d like — the 20 inches of vertical movement he averaged tonight was more like 14 or 15 last year, where a lower number means more “rise” — his cutter, sinker, and curveball compensated magnificently, and he spotted them excellently, generating a mix of whiffs, called strikes, and weak contact that kept the Royals offense at bay for the night.
Since giving up 19 earned runs over 14 innings between July 6 to 16, Lynn has registered a 2.61 ERA (48 1⁄3 IP, 14 ER) over nine starts, striking out 56 and walking a puny five during that time. His 2.6% walk rate is the second-lowest in the majors in that span behind Corey Kluber.
Lynn’s 91-pitch outing looked like this:
Many things in life are beyond our comprehension as human beings, and one particular item that lies beyond mine is how Kris Bubic continues to churn out quality starts against the White Sox at a nearly 100% rate. After working six two-run innings tonight, Bubic has allowed two or fewer runs in eight of his nine career appearances the White Sox, pitching into the sixth inning in every single one of them. For his career, Bubic now has a 2.70 lifetime ERA in 16 combined appearances totaling 88 innings against the White Sox and Tigers … and a 5.70 ERA in 197 innings against everyone else. His stuff was not particularly sharp tonight, generating just 10 total swings-and-misses on his three-pitch mix, but as has been the rule in 2022, he managed to leverage the Sox aggressiveness against them, using their tendency to take themselves out of at-bats early in the count to generate bad contact and generally work his way out of the trouble caused by allowing six hits and four walks in just 94 pitches.
Those 94 pitches? They looked like this:
Yasmani Grandal’s first plate appearance off of the injured list wound up being the highest pressure of the game, arriving with the bases loaded and no outs in the second inning with a 2.85 LI. He flew out to right field.
Hunter Dozier responded to the biggest pressure-load of the game (1.34 pLI) by going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
Elvis entered the building, and the ball soon left the building. Andrus’s fifth-inning dinger to break a 1-1 tie added .157 WPA to the Sox chances at victory, the most of the night.
Lance Lynn’s .310 WPA easily paced both sides, and deservedly so.
Hardest hit: Checking in at 107.5 mph, Bobby Witt The Younger’s fourth inning solo home run was the hardest-hit ball of the game.
Weakest contact: Romy González extended an ultimately game-winning rally in the seventh inning by reaching base on a 41.3 mph tapper that was the slowest batted ball of the night.
Luckiest hit: Josh Harrison’s seeing-eye single in the eighth inning had an xBA of just .160.
Toughest out: Nicky Lopez is the king of misfortune for the second straight night, this time as a result of sending a line drive with a .770 xBA directly at second baseman Romy González.
Longest hit: Another win for Witt, whose 431-foot blast was the longest shot of the game.
Magic Number: .667
With a win percentage of nearly 67% (2-1), Miguel Cairo is, for tonight, the winningest manager in White Sox history, moving ahead of Sox managerial luminaries Ed Walsh, Don Cooper, and Doug Rader on the team’s all-time win chart.
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 the White Sox MVP tonight?
Lance Lynn (7 IP, ER, 4 H, 8 SO)
Elvis Andrus (1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI)
AJ Pollock (1-for-4, HR, Maybe Going On That Hot Streak Molly Knight Told Us All Was Gonna Happen?)
4 votes total
Who was the White Sox cold cat tonight?
Liam Hendriks (IP, 2 H, ER, SO)
Eloy Jiménez (1-for-4, Won’t You Please Stop Hitting The Ball On The Ground So Much?)
The Idea Of Luis Robert As A Late-Inning Defensive Sub (Can He Play Or Not? Make Up Your Mind!)
4 votes total