Dallas Keuchel hits injured list, and now we wait

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 05: Chicago White Sox pitcher Dallas Keuchel (60) throws a pitch during the MLB game between the Chicago White Sox and the Milwaukee Brewers on August 05, 2020 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire)

Ever since he labored through five innings against Minnesota with what was described as a stomach bug, it’s been hard to know just how much Dallas Keuchel has been hurting. He departed after just five innings against Kansas City on Sunday with back stiffness, after which the White Sox relegated him to “TBA” status. Each subsequent “A” hasn’t been heartening. On Wednesday, Rick Renteria said that Keuchel would be skipping a start, borrowing a phrase from the COVID-19 PR handbook by saying it was out of an “abundance of caution.”

Today, the White Sox placed Keuchel on the 10-day injured list retroactive to Sept. 7 with back spasms.

All of these developments might be ways of restating the premise. He could have had a stomach bug, independent of his persistent back issue. This latest flare-up might only cost him a start, because he can return for next week’s Minnesota series. He might indeed be feeling better, but it’s more helpful to have another arm at Renteria’s disposal, even if it’s attached to the person of Reynaldo López, who didn’t get much time to reexamine his situation in Schaumburg. With the White Sox still 99.9 percent likely to make the postseason, but the postseason being less than three weeks away, the club only has a limited window where time is a luxury.

Keuchel’s absence mostly introduces the biggest element of uncertainty. All the other pitching injuries have somehow been absorbed to this point. Carlos Rodón isn’t particularly missed because White Sox fans are so accustomed to missing him, and because Dane Dunning solidifies his status with every turn. Aaron Bummer and Jace Fry’s absences could have dealt a fatal blow to the bullpen, but the White Sox righties have arsenals that also work against lefties.

The integrity of the greater White Sox pitching staff can be waved away because of the near-certainty of postseason baseball, and because said postseason only requires three useful starters, with an emphasis on the first two. Lucas Giolito and Keuchel have made it easy to not worry about that core to a postseason drive, but now here we are, considering it. Attrition has caused the White Sox to shed their fat, and they’ve lost a bit of muscle in the process. God save the bones.

(Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire)

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iowasox1971

Playoff positioning doesn’t matter this season. Whether you finish first or eighth in the AL, you still have to play a three-game series, with all games played in front of no fans. And, there’s likely no real difference in the caliber of opponent you will be facing. Each playoff team will present its own unique challenges. Finally, the games might even be played in a bubble, so even the convenience of playing in your home park could be gone.

So, have Keuchel take as much time to rest up as he needs, with an emphasis on being ready for the playoffs. Back injuries can be very unpredictable, so we don’t know how he will respond. The worst thing we could do is rush him back to face Minnesota in a game that actually doesn’t mean all that much.

AshnodsCoupon

Yeah this playoff format that makes the regular season completely meaningless for a third of the teams. More than that in the AL this year because the teams in the bottom half are so crappy.

It’s just like the NBA regular season, completely meaningless. I wonder if they had something to play for whether we might get to see more Keuchel starts. Instead we’ll get Gio González or something. Insert eye roll here.

Willardmarshall

Should Keuchel not make it back for the playoffs, does that make standing pat at the deadline a bad decision? Or just an unlucky one?

iowasox1971

Unfortunately, we will never have a good answer to that question, because it’s doubtful we will ever find out which deals the Sox could have done.

For example, I would not have given up any of Cease, Vaughn, Dunning, Madrigal or Kopech in a deal for Lance Lynn. If he could have been obtained for less than that, then it might have been a bad decision to stand pat. But, as fans, we’ll never know what the price would have been.

egib52

I am going to go on a pretty strong limb if you add Kelly and Crochet to that list, the answer is no he couldn’t have been acquired for less.

texag10

Can’t trade Kelly or Crochet until I think the offseason anyways

yinkadoubledare

You can’t do that anymore, they changed the rule at the same time they moved the date you were allowed to be traded until the day after the World Series. Can only be a PTBNL if you were eligible to be traded at the time of the trade.

John SF

Does this mean you also can’t PTBNL someone on the IL?

As Cirensica

I hope Keuchel comes back to make at least 1 start prior to the play off. Not sure how DK could be if his next start is right on the play off.

lil jimmy

I choose to believe he comes back to make a start against the Reds. Just an optimist

Oddvark

If you can trust prior comments from Keuchel and Ricky, this IL stint seems like a purely strategic move to bring up another arm for a week when Keuchel wasn’t going to pitch anyway, knowing that Keuchel will be ready to return as soon as the 10-days are up (really 7 days since the IL placement was retro to 9/7).

It’s like what the Dodgers have done the past few years, using the IL as a bench spot to give the more flexibility (which arguably motivated the planned return to a 15-day IL for pitchers in 2020, before the pandemic changed everything).