Postponement gives Chicago White Sox needed rest for weekend streak against New York Yankees - Chicago Tribune

Postponement gives Chicago White Sox needed rest for weekend streak against New York Yankees – Chicago Tribune

NEW YORK — Chicago White Sox pitchers got a lot out of their first series against the New York Yankees last week at Guaranteed Rate Field.

The Yankees have won three of four games, but pitching has improved over the series. The Sox have allowed 25 points in the first two games and seven in the last two.

“(We learned) the importance of getting ahead and staying on the offense instead of falling behind in the batting count, relying on a really, really good pitch,” said the starting Dallas Keuchel earlier this week in Kansas City, Mo. As easy as it sounds, sometimes it’s tough.

“That’s really the main point. In the future, we want to do a better job. (Pitching coach) Ethan (Katz) really preached that, so it’s a testament to what he said. If we can get this on the right track, I think we’re going to be really, really good.

Keuchel was scheduled to start Friday against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium, but the game was postponed due to impending inclement weather.

It will be composed as part of a doubleheader on Sunday, with the first game starting at 2:05 p.m. central time.

The postponement comes as a relief to the Sox after playing five games in four days in Kansas City.

“It’s better for everyone,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “It’s a good day for our paddock. It gives (Kendall Graveman) a day and (Liam) Hendriks. We could have played, but at this time of year we will take it.

Keuchel will be on the mound for Saturday’s game, which starts at 12:05 p.m.

Johnny Cueto will pitch Game 1 of Sunday’s doubleheader and Michael Kopech in Game 2. The Sox fired Kopech Friday from the paternity list and offered reliever Ryan Burr to Triple-A Charlotte.

Keuchel (2-3, 5.54 ERA) is coming off back-to-back impressive outings, most recently on Saturday against the Yankees when he allowed four hits, walked three and struck out three of five scoreless strikes.

“I would still like to get better at maneuvering the counts in my favor,” he said. “Instead of playing 2-0 or 1-0 catchup, I’d like to be hovering at 60 or 70 percent of first pitch strikes. And that’s not out of the realm (of possibility).

“Some of my best years have been 68, 69, 70%. A few bad years have been around 50, so it’s a coin flip. Most of the things that (Katz) preaches are also what I want to do Everytime.

Keuchel did not consider the decision on Saturday, a game the Sox won 3-2 on Luis Robert’s RBI single in the ninth inning. After 86 pitches were released, Keuchel expressed disappointment at not pitching in the sixth inning, which led to a conversation the next day with La Russa.

“We, the team, are most grateful and excited for the five innings he pitched,” La Russa said on Sunday. “His story, since I’ve been here, in the sixth inning hasn’t been good.”

Keuchel pitched a season-high six innings on May 8 in Boston. He allowed two runs, both in the sixth, on eight hits in the 3-2 win.

“I’m a big fan of winning things,” said Keuchel, the 2015 American League Cy Young Award winner with the Houston Astros. “I like to think my baseball card says I won stuff, but at the same time, you have to reinvent yourself every five days to be who you want to be. I’m no different.

“Everyone in this room is the same. I told him the only time I went to the sixth inning was in Boston this year. The figures will therefore be a little skewed. The more I like being where I am, the better it will get. Both of these races came on a soft touch. Those numbers work in my favor more than just seeing two runs on the board in Round 6 at Boston.

“Take the good with the good.”

Keuchel goes ahead and says he is “a long way from where I want to be”.

“The last two outings have been a nice trend,” Keuchel said. “But I’d rather finish really, really strong, so I’d rather get that first bad in Cleveland (10 runs, eight earned, on 10 hits with a one-inning walk and more on April 20) out of the way sooner than later as tough than to look back and see. Just one of those things where we’ll talk about it here hopefully in July and August and a lot more belt wins, a lot more team wins and six, seven rounds.

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