In 2018, Adam Plutko has the following line against non-White Sox opponents:
13.1 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 10 K
Here’s what he has against the White Sox:
9.2 IP, 14 H, 10 ER, 4 BB, 7 K
With sample sizes this small, the most likely explanation is “baseball is random ¯\_(ツ)_/¯”. Or maybe the White Sox have a secret formula that works only against Adam Plutko. Or maybe Plutko is still figuring out how to pitch at the major league level and he’s having some growing pains. Regardless of the reason, the White Sox bested Plutko again tonight on their way to a 5-1 victory.
Things really did not get off to a good start for Plutko this evening. Of his first five pitches, two were balls and two were hit for home runs (there was a foul ball in there for good measure). Yoan Moncada and Yolmer Sanchez went back to back on Plutko to start the game, sending deep home runs out over the fence in center field. The Sox tacked on another run three batters later after Daniel Palka walked and Matt Davidson hit a double in the gap between Greg Allen and Lonnie Chisenhall. Two batters later, and a wild pitch advanced Davidson to third and it looked like Plutko wouldn’t even make it out of the inning as Tito had pitchers warming. Luckily, Tim Anderson popped out and Plutko survived to pitch a few more innings.
Plutko actually settled in a bit after his 26-pitch first inning. The highlight of the night for Plutko came in the third inning when he struck out Jose Abreu, Daniel Palka, and Matt Davidson back to back to back. Granted, the inning started with a balk*, but Plutko was able find command of his secondary pitches and work around a potential jam.
After Plutko gave up back to back doubles and allowed two more runs, he was lifted with two outs in the fifth inning for Zach McAllister, which I assumed was Tito’s way of waving the white flag. I was happy to be wrong. As one of the most ardent McAllister critics, I give the man credit: he pitched phenomenally tonight. I briefly had the Sox broadcast on while driving and they mentioned that he brought his slider to the ballpark tonight. They must’ve mistaken his curveball for a slider because McAllister actually hasn’t thrown a slider this year; but regardless of its classification, McAllister’s secondary pitch was working tonight. Across 2.1 innings of work, Zach didn’t allow a base runner and struck out three. The problem with McAllister has always been that his fastball has too little movement to survive on its own if he can’t pair it with an offspeed pitch. Well tonight, he paired his pitches beautifully and was effective. More of that, please.
At this point, you’re probably wondering why I haven’t mentioned the offense. Well, when you manage 4 hits off of James [redacted] Shields, there’s not much worth mentioning. The top of the order (Lindor, Brantley, and Ramirez), were responsible for three of the four hits off of Shields and 4/5 all night. The only hitter who did anything of note other than those three was Yonder Alonso when he doubled to lead off the seventh inning. But it didn’t matter because the next three hitters went down with hardly a fight. And Shields was able to last through seven innings because the Indians weren’t being patient at the plate, as evidenced by their zero walks against him. Hell, the only run that they managed off of him was on a sac fly by Ramirez in the sixth to score Lindor.
The ninth inning was interesting because Jose Ramirez led off the inning with a double and Alonso walked to put two men on and one out. But Jason Kipnis struck out on a horrible pitch in the dirt to bring Yan Gomes to the plate as the last chance. And Gomes put a charge into a pitch from Adam Engel that almost cleared the fence in left center field to pull the Tribe to within one. Unfortunately, it died right at the base of the wall and the game was over.
Trevor Bauer takes on Chicago’s best pitcher in Dylan Covey tomorrow night.
*If you are unfamiliar with how a balk is called, here’s a nifty explanation:
1) You can’t just be up there and just doin’ a balk like that.
1a. A balk is when you
1b. Okay well listen. A balk is when you balk the
1c. Let me start over
1c-a. The pitcher is not allowed to do a motion to the, uh, batter, that prohibits the batter from doing, you know, just trying to hit the ball. You can’t do that.
1c-b. Once the pitcher is in the stretch, he can’t be over here and say to the runner, like, “I’m gonna get ya! I’m gonna tag you out! You better watch your butt!” and then just be like he didn’t even do that.
1c-b(1). Like, if you’re about to pitch and then don’t pitch, you have to still pitch. You cannot not pitch. Does that make any sense?
1c-b(2). You gotta be, throwing motion of the ball, and then, until you just throw it.
1c-b(2)-a. Okay, well, you can have the ball up here, like this, but then there’s the balk you gotta think about.
1c-b(2)-b. Fairuza Balk hasn’t been in any movies in forever. I hope she wasn’t typecast as that racist lady in American History X.
1c-b(2)-b(i). Oh wait, she was in The Waterboy too! That would be even worse.
1c-b(2)-b(ii). “get in mah bellah” -- Adam Water, “The Waterboy.” Haha, classic...
1c-b(3). Okay seriously though. A balk is when the pitcher makes a movement that, as determined by, when you do a move involving the baseball and field of
2) Do not do a balk please.