Yeah, yeah, it’s not good to be at .500 since the All-Star break. And it’s not nice to have a worse second-half record than Detroit. And it’s unpleasant to have to wait another day to clinch the AAAL Central and to fall darn near hopelessly behind the Astros for home field advantage in the AL Division Series.
But at least we got one important question answered today, namely, is Dallas Keuchel worth having on a postseason roster if Carlos Rodón or another starter can’t go?
The answer to which is a resounding, “NO!!!”
Despite Angel Hernandez providing him with a strike zone the width of Lake Huron—not a gift often being made to other pitchers from either team—Keuchel made it very clear he’s not ready for prime time anymore. As in his last outing, he was only charged with two runs, but he gave up eleven hits, even though cold, damp weather in Detroit meant two blasts were caught at the wall. The Tigers helped out with some lousy baserunning and leaving nine on in his five innings, which was enough to keep Keuchel from the loss, but not enough to make you want to see him in a game that really matters.
The good breaks started in the bottom of the first on a Robbie Grossman double to right that featured lousy running by Jonathan Schoop.
Keuchel didn’t have a single clean inning and needed 95 pitches to get through five, 59 of them for strikes, or at least what Hernandez called strikes. But enough about Dallas.
On to the game, which was one for those who really like baserunners, but not for those who like to see the baserunners score.
The White Sox took a two-run lead in the third when Tyler Alexander sent Luis Robert a cutter after César Hernández singled and Tim Anderson doubled:
Keuchel gave one up in the bottom half and another in the fourth, with three hits in each inning and some very loud outs as well. Jace Fry came on in the sixth and was the beneficiary of a really nice Tim Anderson-Yasmani Grandal play at the plate on Victor Reyes, with Tim making up for a horrible throw that got Reyes to second, after which Leury Garcia left third base open for a steal. But even a double play couldn’t help him in the seventh, when Fry gave up three hits, a walk, and a double steal, and Aaron Bummer followed with a walk and a single of his own, the inning only ending when Isaac Paredes got nailed at third on a single to Adam Engel in right.
If anybody asks, Fry isn’t ready for prime time either, but it’s doubtful anyone will ask.
The Sox closed the final score to 5-3 on an Engel double and Anderson single in the eighth, but that was that. They ended up with 12 hits, five of them doubles, and six walks, and were the beneficiaries of an error, so scoring three was a tad on the feeble side.
Anderson, Robert, José Abreu, and Yoán Moncada each had two of those hits, though Moncada committed the baserunning sin of trying to stretch his double to a triple in the fourth with nobody out and got thrown out easily.
Final game of the series, and a chance to clinch the division if Cleveland loses tonight will be at 12:10 Central tomorrow, Reynaldo López vs. Casey Mize. That’s weather permitting, which it doesn’t plan to do.