White Sox

Dallas Keuchel looks a lot like Mark Buehrle in perfect intrasquad outing

Dallas Keuchel looks a lot like Mark Buehrle in perfect intrasquad outing

Through Dallas Keuchel’s extensive Major League experience – which consists of eight years and 202 starts – he figures there are 5-10 starts a season in which he’s completely locked in.

He describes the feeling as being able to “go out there and know you're going to be locked in from the moment that first pitch goes out of your hand to whenever you're done.” The rest of the season – usually 24 or 25 starts – are just “coin flips.”

Well, considering that Keuchel was so good in Wednesday’s intrasquad game that it actually created a problem (he was literally too efficient and couldn’t get in as many pitches as he wanted to in 3.2 innings of work), you would think he would file the outing under “locked in.”

Somehow, that was not the case.

“Today was one of those days where it was coin flip, but we managed to make some pitches when I had to,” he said on his postgame Zoom chat with reporters.

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Officially, Keuchel faced 11 batters and got all 11 outs. By intrasquad standards, it was a perfect game. So if that was a coin flip, White Sox fans should be excited.

Keuchel needed just 34 pitches to get through the lineup and record nine outs. To get more work in – and create some sort of jam to get out of – runners were placed at second and third with one out to start the fourth inning. Keuchel promptly forced Leury Garcia to groundout to second baseman Nick Madrigal (who threw Yermin Mecedes out at home plate) and then got Andrew Vaughn to groundout to Tim Anderson to end the abbreviated inning.

Hence, the 3.2 perfect innings.

“My mental hurdle is going to be the 4.2 or 5 innings and try to push that pitch count up,” Keuchel said.

He should get one more outing to accomplish that goal. If he can get there, then he believes he’ll be ready to go 6-plus innings in his first regular season start, which could come July 25 against the Minnesota Twins.

Interestingly, Keuchel pitched Wednesday’s game entirely out of the stretch.

“I feel locked in. I've been out of the stretch exclusively and that's because I feel so locked in with that I might just keep it going,” he said. “So I might be a left-handed, softer version of Stephen Strasburg.”

Right now, Keuchel looks more like a different dominating pitcher that White Sox fans are familiar with: Mark Buehrle. Keuchel pitched with such efficiency, dotting the corners consistently, that if not for the beard and No. 60 on the jersey, you might have actually thought it was Buehrle pitching.

“I watched Buehrle for years,” Keuchel said. “He was probably way too fast for me because that just seemed like it was rapid pace, but man, he was really good at that.”

But both pitchers have an extremely appeasing style of pitching when they are in a groove, which Keuchel certainly was Wednesday.

“Just knowing yourself is the biggest key now,” he said. “Pace and understanding of yourself are really big keys to my game.”

And right now, knowing himself means knowing that he should stick with pitching out of the stretch.

“The windup hasn't really felt phenomenal to me, but then the other side of it is that the stretch has felt so locked in that I might just go with that,” Keuchel said. “I'm going to continue to work on everything and see where it goes in the next 10 days because as soon as something clicks in the windup, I mean, it's just going to be there like the stretch is, but right now it's not there.”

The good news is that Keuchel feels like it much more important to be able to pitch out of the stretch. In fact, he usually starts camp focusing on the stretch and letting that dictate his windup because “the most important pitches are out of the stretch and you need to make quality, quality pitches out of the stretch during the course of a 34 start-season if you want to be a household name or a perennial All-Star.”

Keuchel delivered nothing but quality pitches from the stretch Wednesday. And if he keeps that going, the White Sox are going to be awfully happy with their free agent addition in 2020.

 

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Ozzie Guillen rips Nick Swisher again while telling story from 2008

Ozzie Guillen rips Nick Swisher again while telling story from 2008

Ozzie Guillen isn’t done ragging on Nick Swisher. Guillen took another shot at the former White Sox outfielder while telling a story on White Sox Postgame Live Tuesday night.

When giving an example of why he loves Juan Uribe so much, Guillen decided to tell a story of an interaction between Swisher and Uribe on “Nick Swisher bobblehead night” at U.S. Cellular Field.

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“(Swisher) comes to Uribe and says, ‘Hey Juan, look at what I got!’” Guillen said while pretending to hold a bobblehead. “And Juan said, ‘Ya, you seen outside? I’ve got a statue. I’ve got it hitting, catching the ball when we won the World Series. You don’t.’ How about that one?”

Uribe was critical in the White Sox World Series championship, including recording the final two outs of Game 4. One of those outs-- his grab made while falling into the stands-- is the catch that has been enshrined outside Guaranteed Rate Field.

Nick Swisher only played one season in Chicago, and slashed .219/.332/.410 with a -1.4 dWAR.

Apparently that one season made quite the impression on Guillen, as he declared last week, “I hate Nick Swisher with my heart.”


RELATED: White Sox hitters rough up Carson Fulmer in first game against former team

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Day after Keuchel calls out team, White Sox offense erupts in win over Tigers

Day after Keuchel calls out team, White Sox offense erupts in win over Tigers

Whatever Dallas Keuchel said after Monday night’s uninspiring loss to the Tigers really worked. Or maybe the return of Tim Anderson and Edwin Encarnacion to the lineup gave the Sox the spark they needed? Or maybe it was a little bit of both?

Whatever the reason, the White Sox offense finally broke out of its collective slump in Tuesday’s 8-4 win against Detroit.

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Leading the charge was Eloy Jiménez, who busted out of a slump of his own by going 2-4 with a homer and four RBI. He had previously been 1-23 dating back to Aug. 5, and used a simple approach to break through.

“I was in a slump, and I feel like I was seeing the ball good, but I wasn’t hitting it to the right spot,” Jiménez said through interpreter Billy Russo. “(I was) swinging at some balls a little bit out of the zone. Now I’m just trying to see the ball and hit it where there’s no people.”

That’s always a good idea.

But when asked for his thoughts on Jiménez’s day, Rick Renteria provided a bit more of a nuanced assessment.

“Consistency, there’s no secret to it,” Renteria said. “Solid approaches working both lefties and righties… faced some righties today and was able to stay in on them. The two-strike ball down the right field line to tack on another run, I mean he had some really good at-bats today.”

Zooming back out, this is the type of offensive output the White Sox envisioned when they built this team last winter. Tim Anderson setting the table, Jiménez and Encarnacion hitting bombs, and Abreu and Moncada driving in more runs with timely hitting.

“The entire lineup looked great,” said starter Gio Gonzalez. “Everyone looked aggressive going out there. Plays were being made around the horn, guys were doing their job hitting the ball, moving runners over. It just looked like a White Sox win today.”

“Today we felt really good,” Jiménez said. “We took care of business and you see what happened.”

RELATED: White Sox hitters rough up Carson Fulmer in first game against former team

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