Royals 7, White Sox 2: Dallas Keuchel can’t dig up

Another start for Dallas Keuchel, another game where the White Sox trailed 6-0.

This deficit took three innings to take hold instead of one, but the point remains. The Royals spotted Keuchel a scoreless seven-pitch first, but the wheels came off regardless thanks to the usual hallmarks of recent Keuchel starts — wasted favorable counts and struggles against lefties.

He fell behind 2-0 in the second for those reasons. He walked Edward Olivares to open the inning despite getting ahead 1-2, and he came around to score on three grounders. Just when it looked like Keuchel might be able to minimize the damage to one run, he couldn’t put away lefty Andrew Benintendi, who ended up splitting the right-center gap on the seventh pitch for an RBI triple.

The third followed a similar script, except he walked lefty Nicky Lopez with one out after Whit Merrifield bunted into an out to open. Two singles loaded the bases, and although Keuchel came back from a 3-0 count to strike out Carlos Santana, he couldn’t close the door afterward. He failed to put away Adalberto Mondesi after getting ahead 1-2, giving up a two-run single on the seventh pitch that turned into three runs when the ball rolled under Luis Robert’s glove. The error didn’t matter, because Michael A. Taylor singled to left to score Mondesi. The inning only ended because Yasmani Grandal cut down Taylor trying to steal second.

The front end of the bullpen kept it respectable, but the offense once got shut down by Carlos Hernández for a third time in three tries this season. Hernández didn’t dominate, but he only faced jams in two of his six innings.

He worked out of the second without a run despite opening the inning with an Eloy Jiménez single and a Grandal walk. Leury García grounded into a fielder’s choice at second, but Gavin Sheets struck out and Andrew Vaughn chopped out to leave Jiménez at third.

The Sox did score twice with their second chance, although not in an impressive fashion. Once again, the first two batters reached. Once again, soft contact followed. Yasmani Grandal grounded into the same fielder’s choice at second, but García shifted the script a little with a grounder weak enough to get José Abreu home. Gavin Sheets then fouled off an array of secondary stuff before flipping a changeup into shallow left field. It should’ve been caught, but it fell in front of Benintendi, and that made it a 7-2 game.

And that’s where it stayed. Hernández and the Royals bullpen retired 10 of the last 11 batters they faced.

At least the White Sox bullpen offered similar value. Matt Foster couldn’t handle the fifth by himself, giving up a run on three singles and leaving two on for Mike Wright, but Wright stranded the runners and completed the next two innings himself, with Jose Ruíz handling the eighth. Their effort — along with the rules only requiring eight innings because they lost on the road — kept the effort from getting embarrassing.

Bullet points:

*Romy Gonzalez made his debut pinch-hitting for César Hernández and replacing Yoán Moncada in the field. He went 0-for-2 with a strikeout and groundout, but made the one play asked of him at third.

*Moncada went 1-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 16 games. Five of his last six games have been 1-for-4’s.

*García had the only multi-hit game and a nice leaping grab in the first.

*Bulls broadcasters Adam Amin and Stacey King filled in for Jason Benetti and Steve Stone, and were rewarded with a two-hour, three-minute rain delay and a snoozer afterward.

Record: 78-57 | 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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Brett R. Bobysud

Cleveland lost, so gap remains at 9.5 games.

Magic number is 20.

Ted Mulvey

Boy howdy, sure seems like that five game set against Cleveland at the end of the month is going to be what decides things.

joe blow

Why was Stacey King there? I had to mute the game in the third inning, he was horrid

Brett R. Bobysud

Benetti was calling VA-Tech – UNC last night, I believe

GrinnellSteve

The hardest working man in show biz.

ThisReallySox

I liked it. I thought it was fun

metasox

Vaughn really scuffling recently. Has there been any analysis of that? I know this is a long season for him so don’t know if that is playing a role.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

True. Hopefully just a lull and he turns it around quickly. He definitely is not going good like a month ago. I sure hope Engel gets healthy before the playoffs.

GrinnellSteve

I didn’t watch much of the game, but I wasn’t impressed with Stacey King. He’d be a fine companion to sit in a bar and watch a game with, but I don’t want him doing Sox games.

jhomeslice

Well to state the obvious, Keuchel looks done beyond done. Mediocre bad is one thing, but he’s so bad now that they have almost no chance to win when he starts unless they score 10 runs. With Lynn and Lucas out, do they keep giving him the ball and hope for better, or try someone like Kubat or Wright?

Seems like there is close to no chance for Keuchel to make the postseason roster unless something pretty miraculous happens soon. Too bad for him, seems like he owns all of it at least.