The White Sox and Yankees met up in the highly-anticipated Field of Dreams game. In a twist, the lead-up to the game ended up underselling just how great the game would be.
The Sox got four home runs into the corn — and they needed every single one of them. Liam Hendriks saw Craig Kimbrel’s blowup last week and decided to pick him up — by joining him with a colossal blown save. But the negative feeling was short-lived, as Tim Anderson provided the newest and best regular-season highlight for the 2021 White Sox and hit an electrifying, walk-off home run.
In order to truly have a throwback vibe, MLB opted to not have Statcast available, which will make this Six Pack a bit more challenging to write.
Lance Lynn entered today’s game as the frontrunner for the American League Cy Young. In his last seven starts, he’s given up a total of eight runs. No offense he faced in that span was as potent as the Yankees lineup he faced tonight, however.
Lynn was not at his sharpest in this start. He labored through the first inning, throwing 24 pitches. With two outs in the third inning, Lynn allowed a walk and a single to bring up Aaron Judge. That proved costly as Judge obliterated a baseball the other way into the corn.
Lynn would later allow another homer, to Brett Gardner, making it his second-worst start of the year in terms of runs allowed.
Lynn’s night became official after Michael Kopech bailed him out of a jam in the sixth inning. Lynn allowed four runs in his five-plus innings of work. He gave up four hits, two walks, and struck out seven. He threw 105 pitches — 66 strikes.
The Yankees made a couple of big splashes at the trade deadline, but their acquisition of Andrew Heaney flew under the radar. Heaney has had a confusing year. He is in the 77th percentile in K rate and in the 61st percentile in BB rate. Despite mediocre velocity, he gets elite spin on his fastball. Looking at those numbers, one would expect solid numbers out of Heaney, and yet that has very much not been the case. Even though he generates plenty of swings-and-misses, when he gets hit, he gets hit hard. Heaney is in the 21st percentile in hard-hit rate. Coming into tonight, Heaney was the ninth-worst pitcher in baseball in terms of HR/9. That is the reason, despite posting a good strike out-to-walk ratio, he has had a subpar 5.45 ERA.
Tonight, all of the season-long problems plagued Heaney. He allowed seven runs over his five innings of work, six of those runs coming on homers. The Yankees seemed determined to get five innings out of him, regardless of performance.
Heaney ended his night throwing 77 pitches — 51 for strikes.
Ease His Pain
In the highlight of the season, Tim Anderson came through in the highest-leverage moment. His ninth inning homer had a LI of 4.70.
It’s Money They Have and Peace They Lack
Zach Britton faced the highest average pressure in tonight’s game. His pLI was 3.61. Luckily for the Sox, Britton was not up to the test.
If You Build It
There’s very little suspense in today’s top play. Sox vibes were at a season-low when Tim Anderson hit a game-winning, walk-off blast. When Anderson stepped up to the plate, the Sox win expectancy was a pathetic 21.9%.
He Will Come
Hitting a walk-off home run tends to make you the top performer, and tonight is no exception. Tim Anderson’s WPA for the game was .89.
Hardest hit: José Abreu got the Sox on the board with an absolute rocket that somehow made it to the corn despite never getting more than a few feet off the ground. Exit velocity: 1,000 mph*
Weakest contact: Tyler Wade saw Michael Kopech’s stuff and decided his best chance was a bunt down the third-base line. Exit velocity: -12 mph*
Luckiest hit: Giancarlo Stanton’s homer that gave the Yankees the lead looked like it could have been caught by Leury García, except he got stuck on the wall. If this were an outfield Leury was used to, that’s an out. There are no xBA’s for tonight’s game, so I get to make the rules. xBA: .007
Toughest out: Eloy Jiménez made a bid for his second homer of the game in the fifth inning. He hit a blast to center field that was caught at the wall. The xBA, as judged by me jumping off of my couch and yelling, was .999.
Longest hit: Aaron Judge is a big man. And he hit two home runs a long way. His second titanic blast flew an official 30 rows of corn deep. Corn was popping right off of the stalk after the second blast, mimicking fireworks.
*Exit velocities may have been fabricated
Magic Number: 6
Liam Hendriks blew his sixth save of the season. The White Sox are 6-3 in games where Hendriks allows a home run.
Six is also the number of Sox players on the active roster who were alive when Field of Dreams came out.
Finally, six is the number of naturally-occurring expletives Hendriks deftly steered around during his in-game interview from the bullpen.
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 your MVP for tonight’s game (It’s Tim Anderson)?
Eloy Jiménez: 2-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, .30 WPA
José Abreu: 1-for-2, HR, 2 BB, .12 WPA
Michael Kopech: 1.1 IP, 2 K, .11 WPA
Tim Anderson: Game winning 2-run homer .89 WPA
116 votes total
Who was your Cold Cat for tonight’s game?
Liam Hendriks: 4 ER, -.76 WPA
César Hernández: 0-for-4, 3 K, -.07 WPA
Yoán Moncada: 0-for-4, K, -.04 WPA
106 votes total
South Side Sox Roll Call
Tonight’s game thread drew a mind-boggling 720 comments, and in a tribute to Luis Robert, 1969Vikings takes home the top commenter crown with his 88 comments.
Tonight’s top comment goes to Nello Rubio for his clairvoyance.