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Gamethread: Angels at White Sox

Can Dallas Keuchel keep hopes for a playoff start alive?

Chicago White Sox v Oakland Athletics
Dallas Keuchel has been doing a lot of staring out to where balls he had pitched ended up.
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

If the over/under for tonight’s game is less than, oh, say, 30 — go for the over.

Chances are, Dallas Keuchel has already pitched his way out of the playoff rotation, barring injuries to other starters. Giving up 29 earned runs in 31 23 innings in August and September will do that. But if he has any chance to crawl back into a slot, to redeem his former glory, this would be it.

To give Keuchel every chance for a win, the Angels decided that the problem in going with a starter with all of 14 innings in the majors last night was that he was too experienced, so they’re going tonight with a righty with one-quarter that much time in the bigs. In his only appearance, the aptly-named Janson Junk lasted 3 23 against Texas, time enough to give up five runs.

True, Junk would be more aptly named if he intentionally threw junk and became a crafty righty and all, instead of relying 60% of the time on a low-90s fastball, though low-90s for your four-seamer pretty much qualifies as junk these days. The rest of the time is split between curves and sliders, with a rare change.

Junk will be facing a White Sox lineup that is again missing Tim Anderson, after just one game off of the IL. Hopefully that’s just to keep his leg from wear and tear, as Tony La Russa has indicated a one-on, one-off return to the lineup for TA.

It’s strange to see an Angels lineup without Mike Trout, but Keuchel isn’t apt to complain. He will face Shohei Ohtani, but Dallas has struck Ohtani out four of the five times he’s faced the lefty-hitting MVP probable. Besides, Ohtani is going to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated next week, so the jinx is probably already at work.

It’s a beautiful night for baseball: 71 degrees at the 7:10 p.m. first pitch. Usual broadcast suspects.

Be forewarned — whenever I cover a game, the teams perform like they’re getting paid by the hour, so it could be a long one.