How you respond to adversity says a lot about a team. You can sit there and feel sorry for yourselves, or you can go and win more baseball games. The White Sox continue to choose the latter.
Despite receiving bad news on Nick Madrigal earlier in the day, Dallas Keuchel and the White Sox came out tonight and secured a series win over one of the best teams in the American League in the Toronto Blue Jays. It was without question the best start of the year for Dallas Keuchel as he unexpectedly turned into a strikeout machine against a team with the fifth-lowest strikeout rate in all of Major League Baseball. Further aided by stellar work from the bullpen and big offensive nights from Abreu, Grandal, Mercedes, and Engel, the White Sox secured the win by a score of 5-2.
With the win, the White Sox moved to 4.5 games ahead of the Indians in the AL Central at 38-24.
W: Dallas Keuchel (5-1) | L: Hyun Jin Ryu (5-4) | SV: Liam Hendriks (16)
Dallas Keuchel: 6.0 IP, 8 K, 2 ER, 6 H, 2 BB
Who needs a healthy offense when you’ve got a starting rotation that just won’t quit? Not only was Dallas Keuchel masterful tonight, his pitching line is even slightly deceiving. One of those earned runs shouldn’t exist as the sixth inning should’ve ended with a double play. Unfortunately, Yoan Moncada forgot how many outs there were.
Not only was Keuchel on his game, he added an extra little wrinkle: the ability to put away hitters. He racked up a season-high eight strikeouts, making elite hitters like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette look silly in the process.
Yasmani Grandal: 1-for-3, HR, 2 RBI, 1 R, BB
It was basically your perfect Yasmani Grandal game. A walk and a bomb. Grandal took Hyun Jin Ryu deep in the first, giving the Sox a lead that they would never relinquish. I don’t need to be the one to tell you all, but Grandal getting hot is now necessary. With another big piece of the lineup going down in Madrigal, it would be great to continue seeing Grandal barrel up baseballs the way he has the past few weeks.
Yermin Mercedes: 2-for-4, 1 R
Yermin Mercedes putting together a multi-hit game tonight was a huge breath of fresh air. He doubled in the first and eventually scored on the Grandal home run and then added a single in the third. Interestingly hitting No. 2 in the lineup, we’ll have to wait and see if that’s a spot we see him in more often after the Madrigal injury. Regardless, let’s hope the Yerminator is #back.
Jose Abreu: 2-for-4, 2 RBI, 1 R
Just Jose Abreu things. After taking a stray bat to the knee last night, Abreu showed no ill effects tonight adding another multi-hit effort to his ledger including an RBI double in the first inning to get the scoring started and another of the same variety in the eighth.
Adam Engel: 1-for-3, HR
He’s back. Having already made a ridiculous defensive play, Adam Engel wanted to show us that the bat still works by depositing a seventh inning pitch into the seats for an extra insurance run. Boy, would this type of consistent contribution from Engel be a sight for sore eyes.
The Bullpen: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 K
Yep, we’re lumping Evan Marshall, Codi Heuer and Liam Hendriks all together here. Each righty was fantastic as the three faced just one more hitter than the minimum. Seeing Marshall and Heuer, specifically, finding success is gigantic given their struggles throughout 2021. Then Liam was Liam in the ninth.
Matchup of the Game
Dallas Keuchel deserved to finish off six innings of this ballgame and, thankfully, he was awarded that opportunity. As mentioned earlier, Yoan Moncada put Dallas in a precarious situation in the sixth. Tony La Russa showed faith in the former Cy Young winner, allowing him to face Blue Jays catcher Riley Adams with runners on 1st and 2nd, up just one run. Depite surpassing the 100-pitch mark, Keuchel was able to get a final cutter in just far enough on the hands of Adams to induce a pop fly to shallow centerfield.
Player of the Game
This was the best Dallas Keuchel has looked all year. Earlier this season, after a few mediocre starts, Keuchel pointed out that he’ll usually hit his stride in June. Well, it seems he was right. A pitch that eluded him much of the year, his cutter, was working to perfection. It did more than just induce ground balls, too. Keuchel struck out a season-high eight batters, generating 21 whiffs with 10 coming via the cutter.
The “weak link” of the Sox’ pitching staff thus far, Keuchel finding a groove would make the strongest starting rotation in the league even stronger.
After taking two of three from the Blue Jays, the Sox will now head to Detroit as they begin a three-game set with the Tigers. Lucas Giolito will take the hill and will be opposed by the Tigers young southpaw, Tarik Skubal. First pitch will be at 6:10 PM CT and will be viewable on NBC Sports Chicago.
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