Following up: White Sox spin rates take hit, but lines look normal

May 11, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Cease (84) pitches in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

The White Sox have only played two games since Major League Baseball commenced the foreign-substance inspections of every pitchers, so the rest of their rotation has to wait until this weekend for the first chance at plying their trade.

The starts in Pittsburgh for Lucas Giolito and Dylan Cease did tell us a little bit of what spin rates might look like in this era, or at least give us a couple of data points with which to gauge the rest of the White Sox rotation. Both pitchers experienced the dramatic drop-offs that are characteristic of others seen around the league, ones beyond of the standard deviation of the 115 rpm.

PitchGiolito (6/22)Cease (6/23)

I’d never looked at start-to-start spin rates in any meaningful way until these guidelines started taking shape, so I didn’t know what to make of fluctuations, and whether there were any patterns based on health, the month, weather or any other conditions that might affect all pitch components.

And I still don’t! The only thing that’s changed is that both pitchers experienced a spin rate drop that doesn’t fit in with their previous lows this year.

But when it came to their actual performances, both pitchers lines line up with most of their other game logs. Giolito (6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 1 HR) nearly duplicated his previous performance against Tampa Bay, with the only difference being that the Rays tagged him for three runs, not two. Cease (5.2 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K) continue to pad his record against sub-.500 teams.

Giolito didn’t make a stink when asked about the enforcement. He said it’s weird that MLB is going for this kind of correction in the middle of the season, and everybody would be better served if the league could manufacture a consistent baseball. He didn’t paint himself as uniquely affected, and while Cease hasn’t said anything on the topic from what I can tell, he doesn’t seem to be the kind to harp on things outside of his control, either.

The bigger concern to me is whether there are going to be more Tyler Glasnow cases, where those involved suspect that unfamiliar and sudden in-season adjustments lead to injuries. The White Sox are getting by thanks to the strength of their rotation, and they can’t easily absorb an absence until Michael Kopech returns to full strength.

But until that happens, it’s still worth monitoring how their pitches are behaving, but it’s probably not worth emphasizing spin rate drops until it starts showing up in performances, in-game conduct and post-game comments. And should shellings become more frequent, one would hope that White Sox hitters would be able to get in on the fun.

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Besides a chance to monitor any changes to Carlos Rodón’s spin rate, tonight’s game against the Mariners also marks the return to 100 percent capacity at Guaranteed Rate Field. Assuming the game can be played, it appears that a strong crowd should be on hand, as evidenced no tickets available in the outfield sections.

In the run-up to what the White Sox are calling Reopening Night, they issued a few press releases with details on promotions, guidelines and restrictions:

(Photo by Quinn Harris/USA TODAY Sports)

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