OAKLAND, Calif. — Tim Anderson, Lucas Giolito and Lance Lynn are all on the injured list at the same time.
It's a less-than-ideal situation for the Chicago White Sox, to put it mildly.
The injuries are not the serious types that forced months-long absences for Eloy Jiménez, Luis Robert and Yasmani Grandal earlier in the season. But of course, those players had the blessing of time. They were out months but had months to work their way back.
Presently, time is running out on the regular season, forcing an elevated level of concern in the fan base, potentially, over whether these key contributors will be able to make the same kinds of successful comebacks.
Unsurprisingly, the White Sox themselves are looking on the brighter side of things.
"I think the injuries that we have, it's good that we have them now and not three weeks from now," Giolito said before Tuesday's game in Oakland. "It gives us time to get everything done that we need to get done, and then hopefully everyone's back and feeling really strong for the playoffs."
That's the idea. Though these IL stints for three of the team's most important players are not a product of the White Sox' plans to doll out rest whenever possible over the final month of the regular season. That might end up a sort of silver lining, especially if Giolito and Lynn only miss a start or two apiece. But it's not why they're not playing right now.
Still, at this point, no one is projecting the White Sox to be without any of these guys by the time October rolls around.
"The only concern is that we have to keep winning games," White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. "Our starting rotation was such an anchor. ... The only concern is we're asking guys that have not been in the rotation, expect for Dallas (Keuchel) and (Dylan) Cease, to take major roles.
"We've got four weeks to go in the season, so we really feel if we're just patient we'll get those guys back and they'll be 100 percent."
As La Russa alluded to, the White Sox are getting a taste of an alternate reality in which the rotation wasn't so dominant and wasn't setting up to be their biggest asset in the postseason. With 40 percent of the starting staff on the IL and Carlos Rodón seeing a recent start delayed by the same shoulder issue that landed him on the injured list last month, the unit that's carried the White Sox to their status as a World Series contender looks far less capable of carrying them to the Fall Classic at this very moment.
Fortunately for the White Sox, though, they expect that rotation to be whole again.
"We're patiently anxious, watching every move they make because we want to get them back," La Russa said of his two injured starting pitchers. "This isn't part of any plan to rest them. The schedule provided that. This is all just making sure that when they get back they can be 100 percent.
"I think they're both feeling better so we're optimistic they'll start a game for us sooner rather than later."
Anderson, meanwhile, is shelved with a hamstring injury that has illuminated his importance to the team over and over again. While the White Sox have had good offensive nights without him, they've had some really bad ones, too, providing evidence of everything he does as the spark at the top of the lineup, the bringer of energy in every facet of the game and quite simply one of baseball's finest hitters.
"I know he's making progress, pushing it a little more every day," La Russa said. "He worked out here yesterday and had some positives, but he's still, I think, not 100 percent.
"No target yet for when he'll be available to play."
It's understandable why that would be bothersome to hear.
But the White Sox indeed do have that time to work with. It's just a matter of getting these guys back and making sure they're right by the time the season goes on the line.
The White Sox believe all that will happen, it will just take a little time. It better only take a little time. Because the White Sox don't have much more than that.