For six innings last night, the game was an absolute snoozefest, appearing to be over from the onset until craziness ensued with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
With Liam Hendriks taking the mound in Danny Duffy's stead once again this week, this game could get out of hand quickly. It feels like it's been about a month since Hendriks's good start, but the fact that he gave up four runs in four innings of relief against a laughable Yankees lineup and was run after recording just seven outs against Boston five days later does not bode well for the Royals tonight.
What does bode well for them is the fact that Chris Bassitt is pitching for the White Sox. You may be asking yourself, Who the hell is Chris Bassitt? That's a good question. I also have no idea who he is.
Apparently he was born in Toledo. We'll assume his birth took place in either a steel mill or a mudhen's nest. He is a 25-year-old righty who went to college at Akron. The Bassett hound is named after him. He was a 16th-round draft pick in 2011, so the fact that he's made it to the majors at all is impressive for him and the Pale Hoes' scouting department.
Bassitt spent his first two seasons in the minors in the bullpen before Chicago stretched him out as a starter in 2013. Missing much of this season with a broken right hand from a "non-baseball-related injury"--I think we can safely assume he's not seen Bull Durham--Bassitt made his 2014 debut on July 30th for AA - Birmingham. In 34.2 IP against Southern Leaguers this year, Bassitt had a 1.56 ERA, 3.24 FIP, 9.35 K/9, 3.63 BB/9, and a 2.57 K/BB, which was his best mark at a level since he pitched in A-ball back in 2011.
Over the offseason, scouting reports had Bassitt pegged as a #4 starter. Marc Hulet had him as Chicago's 11th-ranked prospect, though this was one of the least impressive farm systems in baseball. Baseball America had him at #15.
In Spring Training, apparently Bassitt tightened up his slider into a harder one. According to him, it better complements his sinker. Since he's thrown that slider 24.5% of the time since being called up, one would assume it's a pitch with which he's grown comfortable. He also throws a two-seamer and a curve. Judging by his PitchF/X percentages, he mixes the four pitches pretty evenly. If the slider is markedly improved, perhaps the ceiling is a smidge higher, but with his limited work in the minors this season, it's hard to say that he profiles as more than a #4 without any new scouting reports.
Bassitt might be all right. He could be terrible. He'll probably become Cy Bassitt tonight because Royals.
This game will be a WAR!