Yasmani Grandal has turned into a three outcome player at the plate. Either a walk, a strikeout, or a home run. Two of those outcomes played a prominent role in the Chicago White Sox wild walk-off win Friday night and it wasn’t the strikeout. Grandal only had two official at-bats and both were home runs.
The Chicago White Sox needs to continue seeing Yasmani Grandal succeed.
In a game that saw 17 runs cross the plate, Grandal opened the scoring in the second inning. He tagged a 3-1 Spencer Turnball sinker to left field for his eighth home run of the season. Grandal has stated that his legs are feeling good and when his legs feel good his power stroke emerges. The fact he was able to hit the ball to the opposite field for power is a promising sign.
In the fifth inning, he sparked a five-run rally with a lead-off walk. He would come around to score on a Tim Anderson RBI single. He would come to bat again in the inning and draw another walk. Grandal leads the MLB in BB%. A major reason why is his selectiveness at the plate. Grandal swings at the fewest pitches out of the strike zone of any major league hitter. He also swings at the fewest pitches in the strike zone. In those two at-bats in the fifth inning, he saw a combined 10 pitches. He did not swing at a single one and was able to draw two free passes.
His biggest moment of the season to date would not come until later in the night. After having a front-row seat behind the plate to watch the bullpen imploded and give up the lead via a six-run seventh inning, he knew he needed to come up large. Sometimes you simply cannot take a walk. Trailing by one-run in with two outs in the bottom of the seventh is one of those times.
Grandal delivered tattooing a curveball to left field. He knew it was gone instantly as he dropped the bat and watched it clear the left-field fence while Guaranteed Rate Field erupted.
Grandal has 14 hits this season. Nine of those have been home runs. Despite a batting average well under .200, he is just two homers shy of Jose Abreu’s team-leading mark. While fans have criticized Grandal, his ridiculous walk rate provides value for the White Sox, even if he isn’t hitting for a high average. On Friday, it was nice to see his value give them results.
Grandal is no stranger to clutch home runs. This was his 13th career multi-homer game and his fifth career game-tying home run in the seventh inning or later. Last season, he hit a walk-off home run against the Royals while also adding two bombs in the postseason.
While an early June game against the lowly Detroit Tigers did not feel like a big game, it was one the White Sox needed to win. A roller coaster ride, with an amped-up crowd against a division rival, can carry a ton of weight moving forward.
“It shows our character”, Grandal said after the game. “No matter what, whether we’re down by five or up by 10, we’ve got to play nine innings and we’ve shown that we’re able to do that and we’re able to play hard.”
“The best teams, in the past, they win those 1-0 games or games that are won by a run or games where you’re down by two or three in the seventh and end up coming out and winning it. That shows a lot. It teaches you a lot, too.”
“Especially later in the year, getting to the playoffs, it teaches you that when you’re down you’re never out. That’s what you want to be. Obviously, losing the lead right there wasn’t pretty, but the fact we came out with a win was huge.”
Grandal finding his power stroke is also huge. His recent home run binge has provided the White Sox with some much-needed offense late in games. It is also a welcoming sign moving forward for a lineup missing its most potent home run hitter Eloy Jimenez. Friday night’s performance from Yaz is exactly what a 73 million dollar man should look like.