Sunday, July 3, 2022

Keuchel DFA’D After A Year Of Bad Pitching And Delusional Comments 


It has finally happened. The Chicago White Sox announced on Friday afternoon that their $55.5 million dollar pitcher, Dallas Keuchel has been designated for assignment. In a corresponding move, Danny Mendick was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte. For anyone that has watched Dallas Keuchel pitch for the past two seasons the move has been a long time coming. 

Between poor performance and seemingly delusional post-game comments after every start, the time was right to drop Keuchel from the roster. 

Final Start In A White Sox Uniform

Calling Dallas Keuchel’s 2022 season bad to this point would be an understatement. The White Sox seemed to be at a disadvantage every time he took the mound. His final outing in a White Sox uniform was no different. 

On Thursday night the White Sox got steamrolled by the Boston Red Sox 16-7. It was an uphill battle from the start. After two innings they were in a 6-0 hole thanks to Dallas Keuchel. Keuchel allowed a home run to Enrique Hernandez on the first pitch of the game. 

Things did not get much better from there. He then allowed back-to-back hits to Rafel Devers and J.D Martinez. Trevor Story hit a rope to left field to score Devers for the fourth hit of the inning, and Alex Verdugo doubled, scoring J.D Martinez for the fifth hit of the inning. Keuchel was able to escape the frame with three runs allowed, but more damage was in store in the second inning. 

Problems With The Cutter

He threw a cutter over the heart of the plate to J.D Martinez that was launched into left field for a three-run homer. Keuchels night was over soon after that. His final line was two innings, with six earned runs, seven hits, and two walks allowed. 

Throughout the game, fans could be heard on the broadcast chanting “DFA Keuchel!” As it turned out it was his final appearance in a White Sox uniform. 

Keuchel’s ERA is 7.88. It is the highest ERA in baseball. His command has seemingly evaporated especially on his cutter.  

Keuchel was at his best when he is able to get his cutter inside on the opponent’s hands. But this season he was leaving it over the heart of the plate far too often with disastrous results. Opponents are batting .419 when Keuchel throws a cutter and slugging .935. 

It was a point of emphasis for Keuchel after Thursday’s game. 

“I knew that they were going to be looking out over the plate, and just one of those things where the cutter, right now, has been the pitch that’s kind of snake-bitten for me. It’s like five out of six pitches are really good, and then one that’s not really good is getting hit.” 

Abundance Of Excuses

 If you listen to Keuchel’s media session, it sounded like he is on the verge of a breakthrough. 

“If people want to write me off, that’s OK. I’ve been written off before, and I’m a competitor and I’m an athlete, and we’ll turn the tide. It’s not the first time this is back-to-back starts this has happened. It can turn right back into our favor.”

Usually, a pitcher with Keuchel’s resume gets the benefit of the doubt. But, he has a pattern of saying things like this after every start. 

After a start against the Angels in which the southpaw allowed four runs on six hits and five walks, Keuchel tried to put a positive spin on things once again. 

“Take away some of those walks and it’s a totally different ballgame,” said Keuchel. “That’s a very disappointing start to things.”

“I still feel good,” the Sox left-hander said. “That’s the main thing and I’m upbeat with how things are progressing. Obviously, I want to win every start — that’s not likely — but at the same time, I gotta give six, seven innings instead of five.”

It was the same story after allowing six earned runs in four innings against the Yankees. 

“I really feel like I was making some quality pitches,” Keuchel said. “… [but] LeMahieu had a good swing on a pitch and, you know, unfortunate circumstances. But I gotta make a better pitch there, and I really felt like that was the right pitch, just the wrong location. Other than that, I’m sitting there making a quality start, putting us in a good position.”

Even when he does put together a good start he has the audacity to complain about a lack of trust from his manager. Here were his comments after throwing five scoreless innings during a home start against the Yankees. 

“My job is to go out there and throw as many as I can,” Keuchel said. “I thought [86] pitches, I had enough to at least go six.

“With how many games we’re playing, I thought I had at least 100 pitches tonight. That didn’t happen. I’m not very happy with that, but that’s the competitor in me and we’re going to have to figure out something tomorrow because we have a lot more guys down now, too.”

At the time, Keuchel had an 18.00 ERA and a 3.00 WHIP while pitching in the sixth inning. That sample size was not very big because Keuchel is constantly getting knocked out of the game before the sixth inning.

Throwing Teammates Under The Bus

If he is not “on the verge of a breakthrough” he was throwing his teammates under the bus. 

Here are his comments after giving up a career-high 10 runs to the Cleveland Guardians. 

According to Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times, Keuchel said he felt he only threw two bad pitches, one of which was the cutter Ramírez hit for the grand slam.

“I’ll take nine singles and a blast,” Keuchel said. “Three hard-hit balls all day. First pitch swings, ground balls, I mean, really all I wanted.”

When asked about the lackluster defense behind him he responded with: 

“Just when you’ve seen it all, you really haven’t.”

While the White Sox did commit four errors, that does not make up for the fact that Keuchel allowed eight consecutive hits, and a career-high 10 runs, seven of them earned. 

Weakest Link In The Starting Rotation

A pitcher with Keuchel’s resume deserves the benefit of the doubt. He has five Gold-Glove Awards, two All-Star team selections, a Cy Young Award, and a World Series ring under his belt. But the statute of limitations on that had run out. 

In 2021, he got hit harder than any pitcher in baseball. He owned the worst expected batting average in baseball. His expected slugging percentage, strikeout percentage, whiff percentage, and xwOBA all ranked in the bottom third of the league according to Baseball Savant. 

Between the poor performance and delusional comments, cutting bait with Dallas Keuchel was an easy decision. He is even more expendable when you consider that he was the weakest link in an otherwise solid starting rotation that has reinforcements on the way. 

Lance Lynn is set to return in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, 14-year veteran Johnny Cueto has been dealing in his first two starts. Through 12 innings he has yet to allow a run and can provide the same veteran leadership as Keuchel. Like Keuchel, he has a World Series ring. 

It looks like a sad ending to an otherwise solid career for Dallas Keuchel. The southpaw will now have to wait and see if any team wants to take a flier on him. 

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