Lucas Giolito’s hamstring gives White Sox rotation an injury apparent to all

While it’s natural to compare a current White Sox postseason team to other ones we’ve watched, there isn’t a whole lot of use in doing so. The White Sox have averaged about one October a decade over Jerry Reinsdorf’s tenure as owner, and baseball has undergone pretty dramatic shifts in run-scoring environments and conventional wisdoms over that time.

That said, between an offense that can run hot and cold and a rotation featuring three starters who just came off the injured list, are on the injured list, or look destined for the injured list, it’s hard not to think of 2000, at least a little.

You shouldn’t think about it too much. The injuries are less severe than a broken elbow (Cal Eldred) or damaged labrums (Mike Sirotka, Jim Parque). The IL stints may even be precautionary in nature. Carlos Rodón went on the injured list with shoulder fatigue, while Lance Lynn‘s knee has been barking, but the former missed less than three weeks, and the latter’s stay is expected to be minimal as well.

The strained hamstring Lucas Giolito suffered on Tuesday night is a different sort of deal. There was a specific event that caused it, and Giolito proved unable to pitch through it. He tried shaking a leg, he tried walking it off, and while he wouldn’t ask for a trainer, everybody else knew he couldn’t continue.

Giolito offered an optimistic self-assessment after the game

“The sensation I felt on the pitch wasn’t as intense and painful as in 2019,” Giolito said. “So that kind of gives me some confidence that hopefully it won’t be very serious and I’ll come back pretty soon … It came out of nowhere. I’ve been feeling really good, strong. Legs, arm, everything’s been feeling good. So, it’s unfortunate.”

… and that’d be a terrific outcome if Giolito were correct. That 2019 hamstring injury interrupted Giolito’s first attempt at turning around his career, but only for a few weeks. He had to depart a start against the Royals on April 17 after 2⅔ no-hit innings that only lowered his ERA to 5.30. He returned about 2½ weeks later for five so-so innings against the Red Sox on May 2. His next time out, he shut down Cleveland for 7⅓ innings, and the Giolito renaissance was truly underway.

However, seeing Giolito’s exhibition of denial on the mound, I’m not inclined to take his explanation at face value. That doesn’t mean he’s lying to himself, but we’re probably going to need an outside opinion in case he still has the other four stages of DABDA to go.

Before Giolito’s injury, the White Sox had a way to manage the rotation around Lynn’s absence thanks to off days Thursday and Monday. La Russa outlined Dallas Keuchel on Friday, Reynaldo López on Saturday, and then probably Dylan Cease on six days’ rest for Sunday. Carlos Rodón could then come back on extra rest for the following Tuesday, and that’s when Lynn is eligible to return.

If Lynn has to be out for longer and Giolito needs his own legit stint on the injured list, it gets a little hairier, with the White Sox either resorting to bullpen days or borrowed arms like Jimmy Lambert. It’s doable, even if it isn’t likely to be the most watchable, but it’d really behoove the White Sox to stop shedding starters. Regardless of how much the game has changed, having pitchers get hurt late in the year just doesn’t seem like a winning strategy.

* * * * * * * * *

Giolito’s injury doesn’t just open up another roster spot as the White Sox prepare for September call-ups. Given that he’s a starter who wouldn’t be pitching for another six days or so, Rick Hahn has even more flexibility with how he patches the roster around the rehab stints that already had to be taken into account.

Before Tuesday’s game, Tony La Russa said that Billy Hamilton would be rejoining the team, while Adam Engel would be starting a rehab stint. This morning, Robert Murray dropped a name that wasn’t on my initial board, just because he wasn’t on the 40-man roster.

It’s cool news, although slightly awkward timing. Under normal circumstances, Gonzalez wouldn’t be eligible for the postseason roster because he wasn’t added to the 40-man roster by 11:59 p.m. ET on Aug. 31. That said, Major League Baseball’s roster rules suggest it’s not an open-and-shut case should Gonzalez set the league ablaze.

A player who doesn’t meet said criteria for postseason eligibility can still be added to a team’s roster in the postseason via petition to the Commissioner’s Office if the player was in the organization on Aug. 31 and is replacing someone who is on the injured list and has served the minimum amount of time required for activation. (For example, a player on the 10-day injured list who has been on it for at least 10 days, or a player who has been on the 60-day injured list for at least 60 days.) Players who are acquired in September or after are ineligible.

Stay tuned for a post about the White Sox’s roster additions once they’re complete and official.

(Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/USA TODAY Sports)

Take a second to support Sox Machine on Patreon
Default image
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.

Articles: 3545
49 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
As Cirensica

Maybe the call of Romy has something to do with Timmy’s “nobody knows what’s going on” absences. The lack of clarity makes me think Timmy is having some issues that warrant more rest. I am OK with that if it means to get Timmy in top form for the October push. Also, Cesar Hndz is in kinda in a slump lately, and he might use a breather every now and then. Definitely interesting call up.

Last edited 11 months ago by As Cirensica
LamarHoyt_oncrack

I’m surprised it is actually happening. But I had wondered, with Mendick being such a bad hitter, and Cesar in a slump, if they might give him a shot. I’ll bet the guy is in a bit of a shock to get the news of a call up, not something anybody could see coming!

Makes sense to send TA to the DL. Just get his legs right. Couple off days coming up along with the one they just had, really good timing to do it.

texag10

Hernandez has been in a slump since we acquired him. Mendick has been a more valuable member of the White Sox this season.

itaita

Cesar could not get another hit all year and his value would be higher then Mendick’s due to his defense.

As Cirensica

Hernandez only has 125 PAs with the White Sox. I am not saying it is a small sample, but players can have ugly stretches spanning 100 PAs. Cesar K% with the White Sox is above his normal. Maybe he is trying too much to impress his new team. Although his BB% is higher. I have no doubts that Cesar is better 2B overall than Mendick or Leury, and I hope he rights the ship before the October race.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

Yeah, I mean Cesar has posted a +.700 OPS the past 4 years. He isn’t great (esp right now), but they’re not going to get that from Mendick or Leury.

texag10

The two arguments given in favor of Cesar is defense and small sample size. Mendick is rated the better defender this year and he doesn’t have that many more ABs than Cesar. We know Cesar can be better which isn’t true about Mendick but it is a concern that Hernandez hasn’t played this poorly since his second season in the bigs.

As Cirensica

I’d give him more time, and quite honestly, Cesar Hernandez performance should rank very low in the White Sox issues list. If he is healthy, and will hit 9th during the play off, that’s all TLR needs.

texag10

Honestly, my bigger concern is his defense. For someone who has won a gold glove, I expected better.

As Cirensica

He might not have a Gold Glove season this year, but still his defense is above average. I wouldn’t be concerned at all. If Leury is there, then I would be.

calcetinesblancos

Romy getting the call is good for everyone involved. It shows players in the minor league system that they’ll be promoted if they perform, and it also allows TA to rest more without us having to watch Mendick or Leury hit.

Also, we have to keep reminding ourselves that with the cushion we have, the Sox are being insanely cautious with everyone because there is zero need to push anyone.

jhomeslice

You would hope not serious, but anytime you hear hamstring injury on this team, it isn’t good. Hope we get some confirmation soon that it is a minor thing.

One thing is for sure, they don’t have any great minor league pitchers to call up. Keuchel looks like he will have a chance to keep pitching, for now at least.

calcetinesblancos

I’d love to see Kubat get the call just out of curiosity for how he would do. But yeah they’ll probably keep pitching Dallas, which means Reynaldo better be ready to go in those games.

Greg Nix

The anti-Keuchel sentiment might have gone off the deep end if you’re really considering the idea that he’s worse than Kyle Kubat, who is 28 years old, has never pitched in the majors, and has not started a game period in two years.

calcetinesblancos

It’s nothing personal I’m just sick of watching Keuchel pitch poorly, hence the “just out of curiosity for how he would do” part. Although to be honest, would it really be shocking to see Kubat pitch better than a 5.00 ERA? Pretty low bar.

We’re also really lucky right now to have both Reynaldo and Kopech in the pen for when we have to yank a starter early (usually Dallas). I don’t think many teams have two long relievers of that caliber.

texag10

Jimmy Lambert is a better pitcher than Kubat and he currently sports a 9.00 ERA in the majors this year. So yes, it’s not as low a bar to clear as you think.

Greg Nix

Same could be said for Mike Wright and his 6.14 major league ERA. This is exactly the argument Jim was talking about in his post on Sunday. https://soxmachine.com/2021/08/29/three-pitchers-to-think-about-when-thinking-about-dallas-keuchel/

texag10

Hell, just look at the Orioles starters this year. 7 different players have started double digit games. Only 2 have an ERA lower than 5 and of those other 5 pitchers, all 5 of them have ERAs over 6. So it is very difficult to find a random dude to just come off the street and pitch to a sub-5 ERA.

phillyd

Maybe in Baltimore, but I bet you could find better in a city like Chicago 🙂

joewho112

It’s worth keeping in mind that going 5 innings and giving up 3 runs = 5.40 ERA. A guy who averages that is still providing win-able starts.

As Cirensica

That’s a pitcher that can throw 160 innings per year. With a 5.40 ERA, that’s a pretty decent 5th starter. And Keuchel is better than that.

calcetinesblancos

I literally said “would it really be shocking to see Kubat pitch better than a 5.00 ERA?” As in, if Kubat came in and pitched to a 4.50 ERA, I would not be surprised. And I’m not sure what Jimmy and his 8 innings this year have to do with that, but whatever.

Working in the minor league guys for even short stints is beneficial over the long term. We were forced to do that a lot this year due to injuries, but that will help us over the next few years.

joewho112

Apparently the Sox signed Carl Edwards Jr to a minor league deal

GrinnellSteve

Carl’s Jr.!

jhomeslice

Seriously? I could not find news on that. He was decent with the Cubs for a stretch but then fell off the face of the earth basically.

joewho112

I only found it because I was checking out the Transaction page on WhiteSox.com

Greg Nix

Put your money down now on who’s losing a 40-man spot. Not a lot of chaff right now. I’d guess Rutherford or Wright.

joewho112

Could they move Stiever to the 60 day IL? I assume it’d have to be the MLB IL, right? And they weren’t willing to do that for Luis Gonzalez

calcetinesblancos

Question: which players that they called up today are ineligible for the playoff roster? Anyone not returning from an injury?

As Cirensica

Rutherford has some value, and we will lose him for sure if we take him off the 40-man roster. When I say “value” I meant, he is an OF that is healthy. We needed Luis Gonzalez this season at some point. Rutherford is our new Luis Gonzalez. Having said that, the likelihood we’ll see Rutherford this year is very small though.

My money would be on Wright.

Last edited 11 months ago by As Cirensica
knoxfire30

nah, he is terrible

As Cirensica

Oh for sure, I won’t cry if another team claims him, but Mark Wright is more expendable although with Lynn and Gio’s injuries, Wright’s importance might have surged a little bit.

knoxfire30

I think the opposite is true given lynn and giolito going down, kuechel is struggling, lopez can only fill one spot and stiever was a guy who maybe in pinch could come up now he isnt available …wright has a much better shot of being needed then rutherford its basically wright or maybe jimmy lambert.

Rutherford is buried on the depth chart by better options, guys who have played RF this year, Vaughn, Garcia, Goodwin, Sheets, Mendick, Hamilton, Engel (should be back in a couple weeks)… I mean even at AAA id rather go to Adolfo before Rutherford.

joewho112

We are definitely going to see a Wright/Lambert double team game if Giolito goes to the IL

calcetinesblancos

I have a hard time believing anyone would claim him.

dwjm3

Lamb DNF…Sheets up

As Cirensica

What?

DNF?

You mean DFA’ed?

Goes to Google…

NDSox12

Did Not Finish. As in, Lamb did not finish the season with the Sox.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

Did this happen, or is that what you are hoping for?

jhomeslice

Good news. About bleeping time.

Brett R. Bobysud

Tim on the 10-day IL retroactive to August 29 (he’ll be eligible to return for the Red Sox series on 9/10)

Foster recalled from Charlotte

Hamilton reinstated from 10-day IL

Lamb DFA’d

Romy added to the 40-man and called up

Sheets called up

LamarHoyt_oncrack

Wow, I’m shocked. To DFA Lamb was the right move, but I’m surprised. Seemed like TLR liked him a lot, he sure got an annoying amount of playing time. Happy to hear that.

joewho112

All the recent playing time was his last shot to show something. They gave him a sporting shot

jhomeslice

He sure didn’t show anything, thankfully. Count me among those who will not miss seeing him in the lineup.

LuBob DuRob

…and batting 5th.

tommytwonines

Behoove. ????

Brett R. Bobysud

From what I can see, the Sox aren’t scheduled to fly to Kansas City until Thursday evening, so I wonder if they’re gonna wait to see where Giolito is tomorrow and then decide if they want to IL him for the next road trip.