Dallas Keuchel walked off the mound on September 30th in disgust. It was a pivotal Game 2 in the AL Wildcard Series and the Chicago White Sox had a chance to put away the Oakland Athletics. Dallas Keuchel was added to the roster as a veteran pitcher who knew what it took to win in the postseason.
The Chicago White Sox need a lot from Dallas Keuchel this season.
He was supposed to be a guy that carried the team through October. Instead, he allowed five runs and was unable to make it through the fourth inning. He did not get the job done and that sour taste in his mouth has carried over to 2021.
His frustration is understandable. His previous playoff start with the Braves in 2019 did not end well either. He allowed three runs in 3.1 innings before being yanked from the game. These playoff shortcomings are not lost on Keuchel. Instead of dwelling on them, he is using them as motivation.
"“The driving factor for me right now is the fact that my last couple of playoff starts have not been very good,” Keuchel told the media. “I want to be one of the guys this team counts on to get it done. And not getting it done last year in Game 2 has really left a sour taste in my mouth.”"
Keuchel had his first chance to get back on the mound in live game action on Thursday afternoon. Things did not quite go as planned. Keuchel recorded an out on the first pitch of the game but things went downhill from there. He proceeded to get roughed up in the first inning and Tony La Russa pulled him with four runs on the board and still only one out recorded.
Keuchel was not too pleased about the early exit and came back into the dugout heated until Ethan Katz rushed over to inform him that he would be going back out for another inning of work. These are the benefits of wacky spring training rules.
Keuchel would go back out for another two innings and gave up a total of five runs on the day. However, he did not seem too concerned about the results after the game.
"“I’m actually glad I had some stressful pitches early and all the things I want to check off, I don’t really want to go three innings and 30 pitches because ultimately, I’m trying to get volume in. So really the only way to get volume in is kind of give up some base hits, ground balls. I gave up a hard hit, was consistently in the stretch. So checking off all those boxes that I actually need to do to make it through six, seven innings a start in the regular season.”"
Even though the results were not what Sox fans were hoping for, this is not the regular season so you can chalk up Dallas Keuchel’s first start into the productive day of work category. Because it is his first appearance this spring there is no cause for concern over the ugly statistics. Keuchel is an established pitcher that has proved he can be successful in this league.
Last season the veteran southpaw finished the season with a 1.99 ERA and sixth in the AL Cy Young voting. He could be even better this season. The bearded hurler went through an odd stretch these previous two seasons as far as normal preparation is concerned.
In 2019 he was a free agent and missed the entirety of spring training because he was unemployed. He did not pitch in a major league game until mid-summer when the Atlanta Braves came calling. The following season, spring training got cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that Keuchel has had a full offseason and spring training to prepare he should be excited.
He is healthy, rested, and playing for a contender. Now is the perfect time to avenge his loss from last year’s postseason.