Twins 4, White Sox 3: Dallas Keuchel’s long leash snaps

Dallas Keuchel might be the White Sox’s highest-paid starter, but it’s probably best to think of him as the team’s No. 5.

That’s not the insult the label usually conveys. In this case, the White Sox have four starters who are all having good-to-great seasons. Keuchel got Cy Young votes last year, but he’s merely middling in 2021. Such is life.

Anyway, if a No. 5 starter can get you into the sixth inning with a lead, you need nothing more — especially when the previous day’s starter went eight innings to rest the bullpen. Like most back-end starters, Keuchel is vulnerable to the Times Through the Order Penalty, giving up a .316/.387/.495 line to hitters in their third plate appearance against him.

Keuchel indeed took a one-run lead into the sixth tonight, overcoming a three-walk, two-run first inning to post four scoreless afterward. He opened the sixth by getting Mitch Garver to line out, followed by a weak groundout by Luis Arraez. Up came Miguel Sanó, and with Keuchel approaching the century mark, facing a guy with such immense power seemed like an unnecessary risk.

Keuchel trod carefully and walked him, bringing Willians Astudillo to the plate with Keuchel at 100 pitches. It still would’ve been a good time to go to that rested bullpen, but Keuchel stayed in and gave up a two-run homer to Astudillo that ended up deciding the game.

Now, one could argue that it shouldn’t have decided the game. The White Sox were once again stifled by Griffin Jax, outside of back-to-back homers by Adam Engel and José Abreu that gave the Sox a 3-2 lead in the third. The Sox couldn’t make a mess of his third time through, as Abreu led off the sixth with a double and didn’t advance. Subsequent attempts to rally against John Gant, Tyler Duffey and Alex Colomé all fizzed. Tim Anderson created the White Sox’s best chance when he drew a leadoff walk against Duffey in the eighth, but he strayed too far on Abreu’s line drive to third and was doubled off.

But there are going to be games like this, and with a stacked bullpen that has Garrett Crochet doing mop-up work, Tony La Russa shouldn’t feel bad about going to the bullpen in the sixth. Perhaps this is the kind of outing that brings quicker hooks down the line.

Bullet points:

*The White Sox struck out 11 times against just one walk, while Keuchel only struck out one against four free passes.

*César Hernández continues to impress defensively, turning a quick double play and making easy snags on hard-hit balls on both sides of second.

*Cleveland lost, so the White Sox still lead by 10½ games. They have not lost ground on any day in August.

Record: 67-47 | Box score | Statcast

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Magic number is 40. Just saying.


I’m not sure I like Robert’s new open stance (which was recommended by the hitting coach), but I am notably not an expert.


The proof will be in the results. Hopefully positive ones. He can always switch back.


I saw that too and wondered if opened stance had something to do with hip


I hope not. Hope he is fully healthy and did not need to alter his stance.

Brett R. Bobysud

Given that there’s been speculation about whether or not Keuchel will be pitching for the Sox in the playoffs, let’s talk pitchers on the prospective playoff roster:

Barring injury, I think it’s safe to assume that Lynn, Rodon, Giolito, & Cease will all be on the roster. In addition, I think there’s 6 bullpen guys that are locks for the playoff roster:


That’s 10 pitchers. I think they’ll probably take one or possibly two more and at the moment, those spots may be up-for-grabs amongst 3 guys: Keuchel, Lopez, & Ruiz.

Personally, I think Keuchel makes the postseason roster because of his previous playoff experience (not what I would use to make the determination, but alas).


J.B Wendelken was just DFA’d by the A’s and he might be a better option than all three of those guys. Might be worth picking him up.


Hard to believe Keuchel was 5th in Cy Young voting last year. He hasn’t been great but his ERA is 4.5, not 7. He probably will not start a postseason game but it would be hard to see him not being on their roster unless he pitches much worse or gets injured. It is arguable that their 4 best relievers are righties, so another lefty would serve them well. He has been decent in the first part of games but worse going through the order multiple times. His ERA the first 2 innings of games in 21 starts is a little over 2.5. That logically makes him a candidate to be a lefty relief option if they only need him for an inning or to face a tough left handed hitter. Plus Keuchel has World Series experience.


I was annoyed at the time, moreso as the game went on and the Sox failed to convert. It would have been the first demonstration of a lockdown bullpen “shortenining the game” holding a one run lead for 3.1-3.2 innings against a decent offense.

Oh well, hopefully a lesson learned.


I have to believe that we only saw it play out this way because it was the Twins and it was an essentially meaningless game. The same scenario plays out against the Yankees/A’s/Rays and Keuchel doesn’t even get the opportunity to pitch to Sano. Otherwise, what’s the point of having Kimbrel, Hendriks, Tepera, Kopech, Bummer, Crochet….


And also shortening.


So I’m looking at the Umpire Scorecard for last night and this is the first time that I can say without any hesitation that they are flat out wrong. They have Jeff Nelson with 98% consistency but you can go look at Refsnyder and Donaldson’s ABs from the 5th inning and the missed calls from his established strike zone don’t even show up on his scorecard. Which is a real shame. I’m all for more information to confirm or eliminate any bias I might have but when I watch the game and feel like Keuchel is getting squeezed and the data doesn’t line up with the pitch data from the gameday app, I’m stuck believing that Keuchel tends to get squeezed by umpires more than the average pitcher which really screws him over more than the average pitcher.