White Sox

10 questions with Dallas Keuchel, White Sox starting pitcher

10 questions with Dallas Keuchel, White Sox starting pitcher

We're asking your favorite Chicago athletes 10 questions that everyone wants to know during the stay at home order. First up, I sat down with Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel.

Chuck Garfien: My first question for you is who are you quarantining with and where are you doing it at?

Dallas Keuchel: So I’m still- I’m still here in Phoenix. Just kind of when this all went down and the choice to go home or stay here, decided to stay here just because Phoenix weather is tough to beat right now at this point in time. I have a pool in the backyard so it’s- quarantine life is decent. I just hope it doesn’t- it doesn’t stay or it doesn’t keep- the quarantine doesn’t stay for very long because the Phoenix heat is going to get to about 110 here in about a couple weeks so…

CG: If you had to be locked in- inside with one of your teammates, who would it be?

DK: That’s a good question… Well, I would probably say Carlos Rodon because… one, he’s almost my next door neighbor here in Phoenix but he’s a big Call of Duty player and we get along just great with that aspect so… Lots of video game playing going on around the Phoenix- Phoenix area.

CG: Yeah, he’s really serious. Are you at his level?”

DK: I’m- I’m not a streamer. I haven’t gotten on Twitch yet but it has crossed my mind a few times. I let him and Giolito kind of do that. I just fly- kinda fly on the side- on the side of the radar.

CG: What teammate have you been keeping with- keeping up with the most? Is it Rodon or is it somebody else?

DK: I’m trying to keep up with a lot. It’s tough. A lot of guys have families and there’s not really a ton of stuff going on so… every now and then check in with some of the guys you wouldn’t particularly check in with just because I mean, we’re all living pretty boring lives at this point in time so the eccentric aspect of people’s lives are kind of thrown out the window right now.

CG: So how are you staying in shape? What are you doing?

DK: So as I mentioned the pool is a big aspect. Just kind of getting out, getting some Vitamin D in the backyard with the sun, I mean there’s plenty of it here but.. Just getting a few pool workouts in. I’ve been- I’ve been fortunate enough to have access to kind of an outdoor gym type of...feel. I have thrown in the backyard and stuff like that so I’m trying to maintain some sort of civil life and getting out of the friendly confines of my video game chair.

CG: Have you attempted to learn a new hobby? A second language? Cooking? Anything? Are you playing an instrument?

DK: So I do have a piano app on my phone- or on my iPad- that I’ve dabbled with. I try not to do too much at one time just because it’s just sensory and memory overload and I don’t do very well with that. I tend to get very frustrated with things I’m not good at initially so… That is definitely on my mind. And cooking, I’ve done a little bit. I mean, I’ve been to the grocery store a few times. God willing, I’ve been very, very healthy so far at this point in time and… health is always my first concern but cooking is- is very fun every other day. I tend to do Uber Eats and leave it at the door and then I go pick it up after they’re said and gone, so…

CG: What have you been making? What’s your best meal you’ve made?

DK: Well pasta’s the easy one. I mean, pasta is very easy with- boil the water, throw the pasta in, make sure you don’t overcook it or undercook it and throw some meat sauce on them but.. I did some steaks the other day. Did sirloins wrapped in bacon or I did a filet and then I did some burgers but… nothing too heavy or too complex. I don’t wanna mess it up.

CG: So, we want to know if you have a treasured possession. What is your most treasured possession that you own?

DK: Most treasured possession… Well.. I have about three or four different things that I really, really love. One of them would be just cars in general. I’m a big car guy so I love- I love my cars. I like time pieces. I’m a big watch collector. I like the eccentric colors. I have a few nice pieces that are- one’s yellow, one’s carbon fiber and.. I haven’t gotten to wear those as much. I have worn them a few times around the house but that’s kind of boring (laughs). And then- And I guess my true love is kind of my baseball memorabilia but that’s back in my house in Oklahoma that I’ve kind of garnered around my eight years in the big leagues, just different players jerseys, kind of some career accolades so far, strikeouts, innings pitched, wins. Stuff like that.

CG: Cy Young Award.

DK: That’s in there too.

CG: I think that would be up there.

DK: To me that’s a big team award. I’ve talked about that a lot of times in- when you’re standing on the island you’re obviously by yourself but it’s a big team component because a play here or there during the course of a game and then during the course of 35 starts, you got to have some pretty defensive, spectacular plays that help you out to kind of propel you to be great.

CG: Have you left anything at the office- your office- that you wish you had right now?

DK: I left a few gloves that I wish I had. I do have some colorful gloves. I have a white glove. I have a mint green glove now that I love.

CG: I’ve seen that glove. That’s amazing.

DK: Yeah, I think I’ve posted one or two on my social media maybe. That’s the mint green that I could pitch with. But I just got a black crocodile Rawlings glove in that’s really nice that I’m pitching the games with, hopefully, God willing. And then I have a...let’s see… I think it’s called sky blue with a gray kevlar outer that I just got in and broke in before this whole mess started so… quite a few colorful gloves that I’m missing right now.

CG: Do you have a go-to quarantine meal, other than your pasta dishes?

DK: Sushi, when I can get it from a few of the… better- better fish spots in the area so... I’m a big Sumomaya, which is in Phoenix, it’s a really nice spot. There’s Roka Akor which…

CG: Been there.

DK: Which my girlfriend really loves. So it’s- those are two of my sushi loves.

CG: Alright, what movies, tv shows, classic games have you been watching during this time?

DK: Not a lot of movies… actually no, I take that back. I’ve watched two movies. Both that were supposed to come out in theaters and then they put them on the- the home networks for you to buy. I watched Bloodshot with Vin Diesel.. It’s pretty good. And then The Hunt, which… kind of- kind of a like Saw and drama mix.

CG: Ok, like a horror movie with some drama?

DK: Yeah, yeah. It’s got some action in it so it’s pretty fun, it’s suspenseful. It’s got a little bit of everything in it. But we- my girlfriend and I have been really big into Netflix. I mean Netflix sales has gotta be up a ton so they’re doing alright…. But Peaky Blinders we just got into. We’re watching- I’m a big Blacklist lover on NBC so that’s coming- that just started back up for their spring- spring season. And then just kind of doing some documentaries, anything from the- from the new How to Fix a Drug Scandal. I guess it was two- two Massachusetts… drug collectors that test the drug samples when drug raids happen and the police seize or DEA seizes drugs or whatever and they send it to the drug labs and those people test the drugs to say if- ‘yeah it is cocaine’ or whatever kind of drug it is. These two women were using the drugs and then taking them and then putting in some fake drug after they took it to replace it so that’s a whole little whole drug scandal that’s going on. That happened a couple years back but.. Lot of documentaries like that, that kind of- kind of catches your mind pretty quick.

CG: Any favorite podcasts or social media follow during this time?

DK: You know I haven’t done a whole lot of social media just because… the content- I feel like- I feel like all the content from these people trying to push stuff out is all the same and then there’s really no live sports going on. But I will say the reminiscing of the years past are cool to an extent, but now that it’s been quite a while it’s definitely getting old to- to watch but… Podcasts, I mean… buddy of mine Collin McHugh, he’s got Twelve Six podcast that he does and I’ll be- I’ll be doing that podcast at some point this next week. I told him I’d go on and kind of talk about my venture last year before I signed and kind of how it’s similar to right now, minus the whole virus pandemic. So… just a few.

CG: And finally, do you have any toilet paper to spare?

DK: We do. Funny thing was… right when this started before we- before MLB shut down the spring training games, we’re at Walgreens one day just getting some water. We were kind of stocking up on some bottled water and this lady had a basket, a whole shopping cart basket, full of toilet paper. And I’m thinking to myself ‘Hey, why in the world are people panicking about toilet paper, of all things?’ You know, you can’t live without water and food but you know, you can kind of live without some toilet paper and this lady had about nine different- nine different stacks of toilet paper. And I just don’t get it. I mean, I don’t understand how people think they’re going to run out of toilet paper but...

CG: It’s like a survival mechanism, you know. They just… they want some control. They know they can control having toilet paper ‘cause they’re eventually going to run out- I mean, I’m not- I don’t understand it either but I’m trying to get in their heads. It doesn’t make sense to me either.

DK: Yeah, I’m a big fan of the flushable wipes so those have been in stock and those are great so… That’s been a favorite of mine for years.

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MLB The Show: White Sox take down Blue Jays behind Dallas Keuchel

MLB The Show: White Sox take down Blue Jays behind Dallas Keuchel

NBC Sports Chicago is simulating the 2020 White Sox season via MLB The Show during the postponement of play. The White Sox, stocked with young talent and veteran offseason acquisitions, were expected to take a big step forward in their rebuild this season. Follow along as we play out the first few months of the season.

Result: White Sox def. Blue Jays 7-1
Record: 51-36 this season, first in AL Central (3 games ahead of Twins)

W: Dallas Keuchel (5-5)
L: Hyun-Jin Ryu (9-4)

Game summary: The South Siders continued their three-game set vs the Blue Jays north of the border on Wednesday. And just like Canadian summers, their bats took a little longer than normal to warm up in this game.

Fortunately for the White Sox, they didn’t need a lot of runs early as Dallas Keuchel had his entire repertoire working. The veteran lefty, a frequent sore spot in the rotation this season, went eight innings while allowing just one run and striking out five batters. Sporting an ERA above 7 at times this year, Keuchel is now sitting at 5.90.

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After just scoring just two runs through the first seven frames, the White Sox offense broke out in the eighth. Tim Anderson emerged from his power slump in a big way, hitting a three-run bomb to left. Then, Nomar Mazara also went deep, slugging his 17th homer of the season.

The White Sox winning streak is now at three games, the same total they lead the AL Central by as All-Star weekend approaches.

White Sox lineup:

Edwin Encarnacion: 0-4 (.311 BA)
Eloy Jimenez: 1-4, 2B (.251 BA)
Yoan Moncada: 1-5, HR (23), RBI, R (.278 BA)
Yasmani Grandal: 1-3, 2 BB, R (.309 BA)
Jose Abreu: 3-5, 2 2B, 2 R (.311 BA)
Tim Anderson: 1-5, HR (15), 3 RBI, R (.275 BA)
Luis Robert: 1-5, R (.256 BA)
Nick Madrigal: 1-3 (.283 BA)
Nomar Mazara: 2-4, HR (17), 2 RBI, R (.257 BA)

Scoring summary:

Top first

Yoan Moncada homered to left field. 1-0 CHW.

Top fourth

Nomar Mazara singled to left field, Luis Robert scored. 2-0 CHW.

Bottom fifth

Bo Bichette homered to left field. 2-1 CHW.

Top eighth

Tim Anderson homered to left field, Yasmani Grandal and Jose Abreu scored. 5-1 CHW.
Mazara homered to right field. 6-1 CHW.

Top ninth

Anderson reached on throwing error, Abreu scored. 7-1 CHW.

Notable performance: Mazara is the human embodiment of the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Despite being in the nine-hole, Mazara has hit 16 homers and is ninh in the AL with 63 RBIs. There's no reason to move him elsewhere in the lineup.

Next game: Thursday, July 2 - Game 88: White Sox at Blue Jays (Dylan Cease, 4-4, 5.40 ERA vs Ryan Borucki, 6-4, 5.11 ERA)


Yoan Moncada: White Sox still on track for success in 2020, even after layoff

Yoan Moncada: White Sox still on track for success in 2020, even after layoff

It's been a bit of a deflating experience for White Sox fans over the past few months. They were ready for their team to finally ascend into the realm of baseball's contenders, only for the COVID-19 pandemic to put those plans on hold.

The most anticipated season of White Sox baseball in years wasn't happening.

Well, it's kind of happening now, albeit in a squeezed-down, 60-game version that has some fans already bemoaning the 2020 campaign's illegitimacy before it starts.

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But White Sox fans who had the wind taken out of their sails shouldn't be so down in the dumps. Even after a three-month layoff and staring at a two-month sprint to the postseason, the White Sox seem to be in as good a position as they were back in March to make their jump out of rebuilding mode and into contending mode.

Though so much has changed in baseball and around the world in the last few months, that one aspect of the White Sox outlook for the 2020 season has not, according to one of the team's best players.

"I think that each one of us has been working out, has been doing what they are supposed to be doing in order to get ready for the season," Yoan Moncada said through team interpreter Billy Russo on Wednesday. "If that's the case, and I truly believe that’s the case, we are going to be ready, when the season starts, to compete right away. I think there’s not going to be any major difference."

Indeed, there's reason to believe that the White Sox are positioned quite well to compete for an AL Central title and reach the postseason, much like there was back in March. The young core of Moncada, Tim Anderson, Eloy Jimenez and Lucas Giolito were excellent in 2019, especially toward the end of the season. The front office added numerous impact veterans with winning experience during the offseason. And Luis Robert is a much-hyped prospect who could provide a huge boost to the lineup right away.

And the layoff has even allowed for some improvements to the roster, at least on paper, with a pitching staff deepened by the potential full-season additions of recovered arms Michael Kopech, Carlos Rodon and Dane Dunning.

While the White Sox have their fair share of questions — look to that same pitching staff, where it's unknown what kind of results the team will get from Dylan Cease and Reynaldo Lopez — they could wind up the most balanced of the three non-rebuilding teams in the Central. The defending-champion Minnesota Twins have a powerful lineup that now includes perennial MVP candidate Josh Donaldson, but their pitching staff past ace Jose Berrios needs to prove its dependability. The Cleveland Indians, on the other hand, have arguably the best starting rotation in baseball, but their lineup is top heavy with major questions past Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez.

Moncada is of the mindset that to be the champs, you've got to beat the champs.

"I see ourselves in a very good position to compete in this division," he said. "I think that the team to beat is the Minnesota Twins. But I think we have a very good team to compete against them."

RELATED: White Sox not adjusting high hopes for 2020: 'I'm still extremely optimistic'

The third baseman doesn't seem to be alone in his thinking that the White Sox are still in a good position to reach the high expectations they put on themselves during the spring, when everyone at Camelback Ranch was talking about snapping the franchise's more than decade-long playoff drought. Team brass was sticking to those high hopes last week.

“I’m still extremely optimistic,” manager Rick Renteria said. “We come in with the same mindset, to build on what we were building when we were cut off in the spring. And I continue to be optimistic about how positively we can roll forward.”

Obviously this is a season unlike any other, and no one truly knows what will happen when the games start being played — including how many of those games the COVID-19 pandemic will allow Major League Baseball to complete. A fast start will be important to the White Sox and every other team looking to sprint to the regular season's finish line.

Some more good news, at least for Moncada? This is a season in which he doesn't have to worry about battling Chicago's frigid April and May conditions.

"I don't like cold weather," he said. "I think starting the season in this kind of weather is going to be an advantage for all of us. I think we're going to feel much more comfortable, and for me, I think I'm going to feel like I'm playing in Cuba because this is the kind of weather we're used to in Cuba. It's going to be comfortable for us."

White Sox fans have reason to believe they could be very comfortable with their team's fortunes, even after a three-month layoff.