Sunday, July 3, 2022

La Russa’s Recent Comments Show A Lack Of Confidence In Keuchel


Dallas Keuchel was frustrated by his early hook on Saturday night. Keuchel hurled five scoreless innings for the White Sox, allowing four hits and striking out three. After throwing just 85 pitches, the former Cy Young winner expected to take the mound in the sixth inning.

The White Sox are in the midst of playing 17 games in 17 days. Lucas Giolito also landed on the COVID list which will give the pitching staff an even bigger workload this upcoming week. Because of this Keuchel was disappointed he didn’t have a chance to go deeper.

“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.”

While preserving the bullpen is during this long stretch of games so is winning. Given Keuchel’s recent track record Tony La Russa’s decision to pull Keuchel was an easy one.

“We the team were mostly appreciative and excited about the five innings he pitched,” La Russa said of Keuchel. “His history since I’ve been here, in the sixth inning has been not good.

“He earned the win,” La Russa added. “But the job that Graveman came in and did and how we ended up winning late.

“Realistically, whether it’s observational analytics or the real analytics after the fifth inning — whether he gets to somewhere in that pitch count — stuff changes.”

Keuchel has an 18.00 ERA and a 3.00 WHIP in the sixth inning this season. The sample size is not very large because he has failed to go deep into games this season. Keuchel has gotten off to a slow start this season. In six games he has a 5.54 ERA. He was limited to just one inning in his second start of the season after allowing 10 runs seven of which were earned.

This is a continuation of what fans saw in 2021 when Keuchel got roughed up to the tune of a 5.28 ERA. He gave up lots of hard contact which placed him in the bottom 10th percentile in expected ERA, expected batting average, and expected slugging percentage.

He has been throwing the ball better as of late with back-to-back solid outings against the Red Sox and Yankees. But it’s still hard to have confidence in a pitcher that has been so consistently bad the past year. It should also be noted that Keuchel has allowed 22 earned runs in the sixth inning since 2021.

Strategically the move made sense. But when you are paying a decorated veteran pitcher $18 million a year, it is not the best sign the team’s manager is openly talking about how bad he has been late in games.

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