Last night, Dallas Keuchel had some tough words on the play of the White Sox the last 6 games:
Holy hell what a breath of fresh air. The White Sox are coming off a 1-5 record in their last 6 games and have played a brand of baseball that is WAY too reminiscent of 2016-2019, and those are the years every Sox fan on the planet would love to take the Men In Black pen thing and wipe our memories clean of:
But we don't have that technology yet, so the best we can do is put faith in the roster the White Sox have given us in this weird year, and it's a roster that we had HIGH HIGH HIGH expectations for, but one that was admittedly very young and was bound to have growing pains.
Two winters ago, Dallas Keuchel was also a free agent. He didn't sign with a team until mid-Summer because of the qualifying roster attached to his name, and I was of the opinion that his best years were way behind him. Sure, he's a command/feel type pitcher that should age well, but there were also a decline in his numbers the last few years. I didn't think the juice would necessarily be worth the squeeze on a long term deal because how often does that ever work out for a pitcher on the wrong side of 30? Not very often, pitching style be damned.
But when he signed with the White Sox last winter, I was cool with it. Didn't necessarily LOVE it, but was cool with it. Perfect guy to slide somewhere in the middle of Gio, Kopech, Cease, Lopez/Geo and chew up innings. The Sox didn't need him to be the pitcher that won a Cy Young, though lightning can definitely strike twice in baseball.
What I didn't realize is what a goddamn GREAT leader they're getting in the clubhouse, Astros stink be damned. A leader that will take the reigns, look each player in the eye and say, "Hey, we're playing like fucking shit right now. We are better than this from player 1 through player 25 and this is unacceptable."
We haven't seen this since the Ozzie days, which I'll get to in a minute. Now, I am not saying that Gio or Abreu or anyone else hasn't said this to the team behind closed doors. No idea if they have or haven't. But none of those guys have won shit yet. Keuchel has. He's won an aforementioned Cy Young and a World Series. We're not going to be talking about trash cans and illegal surveillance cameras right now, for all intents and purposes.
What we're going to talk about is the dude who walked into the clubhouse in Glendale AZ this February, took the entire organization (literally) out to a dinner, dropped $25K on them while his mom screamed "playoffs or die, bitches!" at the top of her lungs, went out and shoved in his first 3 starts with his new club, and then proceeded to call that team out for underperforming play.
Dallas Keuchel isn't the hero we need, he's the hero we deserve right now. It will be a telling sign tonight to see how the team responds to that leadership. If Abreu keeps swinging at pitches 3 feet outside, if Grandal keeps taking cock shots, and if Eloy keeps frolicking around LF like Bambi on ice, then we have issues and it's a major indictment on the makeup of a lot of these guys. This lineup is WAY too talented to keep approaching pitcher after pitcher the exact same way. It's been the literal definition of insanity the last 6 games.
I choose to believe they respond and they go on a nice run from starting tonight. The talent is there, the brains haven't been. That's fixable though. You can't teach Robert's talents, you can teach him to lay off sliders out/off the plate. This lineup is going to click again, and it's going to be the offense that we all thought would fuck this summer.
Post Script: call me a patsy for the organization, I don't give a fuck, but I am going to assume that Renteria has chewed out the team recently as well. I could be wrong, I just pray that I'm not. Any manager in baseball should have with the way the lineup has approached hitting in the last 6 games, sans Mendick and McCann. Perhaps they have heard it from him too often over the years and needed to hear it from a peer. Not sure. I'm far from a Ricky apologist, but any decent coach at any decent level is making comments similar to Keuchel's after that stretch of games.
Whatever though, flush it. Flush it and play like you're capable of, starting tonight. Oh and Anderson's back. He'll also light a fire under everyone's ass. Tyler Alexander is fucked. Mark my words, fucked.