Notes: White Sox set postseason starters
CHICAGO -- Lucas Giolito will start Game 1 of the American League Wild Card Series for the White Sox, scheduled for Tuesday against the A's in Oakland. Dallas Keuchel gets the nod in Game 2 on Wednesday.
Manager Rick Renteria made the expected choices official during a Sunday morning Zoom. Giolito finished the 2020 season ranked second in the AL with 97 strikeouts, while posting a 4-3 record with a 3.48 ERA in 12 starts and 72 1/3 innings. Giolito’s .184 average against checks in at third in the AL.
The right-hander last pitched Wednesday, when he allowed two runs in six innings against the Indians at Progressive Field to go with 11 strikeouts. Giolito threw a career-high 119 pitches, but he will have five days between starts.
Keuchel’s 1.99 ERA over 11 starts and 63 1/3 innings trailed only Cleveland’s Shane Bieber (1.63). Keuchel battled through back spasms and back soreness during the course of the season, but the lefty allowed one run in six innings and threw 93 pitches in his last start, Thursday against Cleveland.
Dylan Cease, Dane Dunning and Reynaldo López are options for a Game 3 start, if necessary in the best-of-three Wild Card Series. The White Sox also could use some combination of all three, depending on how the first two games play out.
Jiménez making positive strides
Left fielder Eloy Jiménez was doing “much better” and was “improving exponentially,” per Renteria, in regard to the right mid-foot sprain keeping him out of the last regular-season series against the Cubs. But Renteria wouldn’t predict whether Jiménez would be able to play left field in the Wild Card Series, or even be part of the playoff roster.
“Tomorrow will be a good day for us to kind of truly assess where he's at,” Renteria said. “Then we can kind of probably put him through the wringer. We're cautiously optimistic and we'll deal with where we're at with him more clearly tomorrow.”
Crochet has 100 mph mindset
Catcher James McCann pointed to rookie left-hander Garrett Crochet as someone who has quickly become one of his favorites from the White Sox bullpen, partially because of his great makeup. McCann shared a story to back up this sentiment from when Crochet was hit in the ankle by a 107.3 mph Ian Happ grounder, per Statcast, as the first batter the 21-year-old faced in his two scoreless innings Saturday night.
Crochet then was kind of flabbergasted when McCann came to the mound.
“I had to remind him we’ve got to take care of them,” McCann said. “And he said, ‘Get back behind there. You don't need to be out here.’
“So it just kind of shows you he's a competitor. He's not afraid of anybody. And he's a tough kid. That's exactly the same thing with those other rookies down there in the bullpen.”
Third to first
• Renteria sat in a suite at the ballpark Saturday night while serving his one-game suspension for his actions after reliever Jimmy Cordero intentionally threw at and hit Willson Contreras on Friday during a Cubs victory. Cordero received a three-game suspension, but he is appealing.
“It's a very uncomfortable feeling sitting in a suite. To be honest, it doesn't feel right,” Renteria said. “I would rather have been in the dugout watching it. I get everything that has happened and how it played itself out, but I hope I never have to do that again.”
• Leury García has been out of action since Aug. 10, when he severed a ligament in his left thumb sliding into first base and had it surgically repaired. But the switch-hitting super-sub was working out at Guaranteed Rate Field Sunday morning, continuing his push to make the playoff roster.
• Matt Foster’s six victories are the most by a White Sox rookie reliever since Daniel Webb in 2014 (also six).
They said it
“This is an individual who should win, maybe I am biased, but should win the MVP and a Gold Glove.” -- Bench coach Joe McEwing, on José Abreu
“For me, and I think I'm speaking for everybody, every time I see him coming into the game my thought is, ‘OK, it's going to be a 1-2-3 inning.’ -- Third baseman Yoán Moncada, through interpreter Billy Russo, on Crochet
“I really haven't been here that long, so I'm still getting used to a lot of things and still trying to take everything in stride. But when I get out there on the mound, it's all business, and I try to worry about thinking back on it later once I get into the locker room.” -- Crochet, who joined the White Sox on Sept. 18