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Everybody could kinda tell Lucas Giolito was trying to fool himself into thinking he could stay on the mound after tweaking his hamstring in his start on Tuesday against the Pirates.
Sure enough, he went on the injured list retroactive to Sept. 1 with a strained left hamstring before Friday’s game, and Friday’s game itself showed why the White Sox had to err on the side of caution. With Giolito and Lance Lynn on the shelf at the same time, the White Sox rotation doesn’t look nearly as imposing when Dylan Cease is at the head of the table. That’s no slight against Cease, but it does reflect skepticism about Carlos Rodón’s current powers.
It’s definitely a knock on Dallas Keuchel, who is at a loss for words after another dud.
“I wish it would’ve gone better,” said Keuchel after falling to 8-8. “I felt really good in the first, and it just didn’t really carry over to the second. Just trying too hard and it just kind of backfired on me. I’m putting myself in holes that I shouldn’t be doing or I haven’t done in the past. It’s self-imposed. It’s just self-imposed, to be honest with you.”
That’s always dangerous territory for a pitcher to tread, because he can only maintain he’s kicking your his own ass for so long before others determine 1) somebody else is doing the kicking, and 2) he would’ve stopped it by now if he could. Reynaldo López battled out of similar straits if you’re seeking a positive example, but he needed an offseason overhaul and months of in-season minor-league practice to get back on track.
Back to Giolito, he’s maintaining that his injury is not that significant …
“I feel like I’m going to be good,” Giolito said. “I know Lance is moving along pretty nicely. He just needs to clear up what he’s got going on. Carlos got a little break, and he’s feeling good now. We just have our little buildup here the last month, and then we’re all ready to go.”
… and he could be right. However, Giolito is the one who said Keuchel was “close” after Keuchel gave up six runs in the first inning against the Cubs the previous Friday, and we know that Rodón isn’t yet all the way back. Optimism and self-confidence is necessary in baseball, but Giolito might need a governor.
“We just have to be really certain because you rush him back, and he gets hurt, that’s the worst consequence,” manager Tony La Russa said Friday afternoon. “Clearly, we need to get him well before we trot him out there. Be as careful as we can.”
The plan is for Giolito to throw a bullpen on Wednesday in Oakland to test the severity. Before then, the White Sox will turn to Reynaldo López for Lance Lynn’s turn, then Cease in his regularly scheduled spot before an off day on Monday. Lynn isn’t eligible to return until next Saturday, so the way La Russa goes about filling the TBAs against Oakland stands a chance of saying plenty about his level of confidence in the starters who remain theoretically able.
(Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports)