Athletics 5, White Sox 1: Dallas Keuchel useful, but offense takes step back

Dallas Keuchel gave the White Sox a little bit of depth.

Unfortunately, the White Sox tried to get a quality start out of him, and that’s where things got pushed out of reach.

After pitching just four innings combined over his previous two starts, Keuchel pitched into the sixth in this one. He probably should’ve only pitched five, but he was within an out of six innings of three-run ball before Chad Pinder lined an RBI triple into the right-field corner to give Oakland a 4-1 lead. Jose Ruíz entered, but he gave up an RBI single to Elvis Andrus before he could record the third out.

That left the Sox with only moral victories, and there were a few. Cleveland lost to Minnesota, so the White Sox led the AL Central by 11 games no matter what happened. Keuchel was watchable, even if it wasn’t a particularly sustainable form of functional. He threw 63 of his 94 pitches for strikes, only walked one (with another free base via HBP) over 5⅔ innings, and a minority of his outs were in the air (seven groundouts, three strikeouts).

He also didn’t waste an offensive performance that could’ve won other games. The White Sox had some decent isolated at-bats against Frankie Montas, but they didn’t build innings, going 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and grounding into three double plays over the first four innings, including one by Brian Goodwin with a runner on third and one out in the second.

The Sox’s only run came courtesy of an Oakland error. With runners on the corners and nobody out, Andrew Vaughn struck out. Up came César Hernández, who hit a chopper to Matt Olson. Oakland’s Gold Glove first baseman couldn’t get the ball out of his mitt cleanly, and by the time he could find the grip, it wasn’t secure enough to avoid a wild throw. Leury García scored on the contact play to cut Oakland’s lead to 2-1, and while Hernández and Goodwin advanced to second and third with still one out, neither one scored. Luis Robert grounded out meekly to Montas, and Yoán Moncada flied out to center.

The White Sox did have one true offensive highlight, when Romy González pinch-hit for Gavin Sheets against lefty Andrew Chafin with one out in the ninth and lined a single to right for his first MLB hit. Goodwin kept the inning alive with his own two-out single, but the White Sox needed to survive a Vaughn at-bat with two outs with runners in scoring position, and Vaughn struck out. He is now 2-for-53 in such scenarios.

Bullet points:

*Vaughn made a fine diving catch in the first inning, and generated an outfield assist via a 7-6-4-3 putout on Olson’s RBI single in the fifth inning, which nullified the run the Sox scored in the top of the fifth.

*Moncada made a great play on Olson to end the first, looking like a shortstop going to his right as the only infielder on the left side.

*Robert’s been great tracking balls in center, but it seems like the timing on his decision-making throwing home needs work. His clock either moves too fast (two errors trying to pick up balls) or too slow (he seemed to concede Mark Canha’s run home despite a bad break on a single).

*The magic number is 14.

Record: 80-59 | Box score | Statcast

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Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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burning-phoneix

Dallas is kill 🙁

Shingos Cheeseburgers

Just 14 more losses by the Indians and the Sox are IN!

GrinnellSteve

I thought Tony would be content with 5 adequate innings, but he was probably managing with one eye on the rotation depth right now and its effect on the bullpen. That was a credible 5th-starter start until he pushed his luck.

I went to bed before Romy’s hit. Congratulations! Maybe he can relax and settle in now.