Keuchel has an­other strong out­ing but gets out­du­eled by Houser

Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS - DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN dvan­schouwen@sun­times.com | @CST_­sox­van

A 1-0 loss not­with­stand­ing, the White Sox are trend­ing up­ward, but this is only a taste, gen­eral man­ager Rick Hahn says.

“I do think the best is yet to come,” Hahn said Wed­nes­day be­fore the Sox fell to the Brew­ers and right-han­der Adrian Houser at Guar­an­teed Rate Field, their six-game win­ning streak grind­ing to a halt. “We haven’t had our lineup that we’ve pro­jected to have for the long term out there yet due to the in­juries. So I do think — even as fine of an of­fen­sive unit that we’ve had so far — that we can be even more danger­ous in the com­ing years, if not at some point over the course of the 2020 sea­son.”

The Sox (7-5) had been rolling after a 1-4 start, lead­ing the ma­jors in bat­ting av­er­age (.284) and rank­ing fourth in on-base per­cent­age (.384) and slug­ging (.454), but all of those num­bers took a trim after Houser (0.75 ERA in two starts) blanked them for seven in­nings.

The wel­come news for the Sox was a third con­sec­u­tive good out­ing by left-han­der Dal­las Keuchel, who struck out eight and low­ered his ERA to 2.55 with seven in­nings of one-run ball. Three con­sec­u­tive sin­gles by the lower third of the Brew­ers’ lineup in the third in­ning, with Eric Sog­ard sup­ply­ing the RBI, gave Mil­wau­kee the run it needed.

With Houser out of the game, Luis Robert and Yoan Mon­cada brought the Sox’ dugout to its feet with warn­ing-track fly­outs to cen­ter field and right field, re­spec­tively, against David Phelps in the eighth in­ning. Per­haps the Sox, who were hit­ting .352/.411/.488 with 29 runs scored in the last four games, were due for a night like this, es­pe­cially in cooler weather.

“It was a lit­tle cooler, more hu­mid to­day,” man­ager Rick Ren­te­ria said. “The guys put on some good swings, but ob­vi­ously the ball didn’t carry as well tonight.”

“We’ve been hot, and even­tu­ally it’s going to come to an end,” Keuchel said. “Game in and game out, we know we’re going to be in these con­tests. If we can win series, that’s a play­off recipe.”

Brew­ers All-Star lefty Josh Hader pitched a per­fect ninth, strik­ing out Eloy Jimenez to end it in a crisp two hours, 21 min­utes. The way the Sox have been going, they prob­a­bly thought it was only a mat­ter of time be­fore they’d get to Houser.

“He throws the ball well when he’s up in the zone,” said Danny Men­dick, who con­trib­uted a ca­reer-high three hits in tak­ing over for the in­jured Nick Madri­gal at sec­ond base.

“Some of the hit­ters came back to the dugout say­ing his stuff was re­ally, re­ally live,” Keuchel said.

It was the third game in a row against the post­sea­son-tested Brew­ers with a play­off-type feel. The Sox haven’t had those in re­cent years, and they haven’t been play­ing ex­pect­ing to win in re­cent years. That’s all changed now.

“We have that be­lief now that I think was kind of miss­ing the last cou­ple of years that we trust how good we are,” righty Lu­cas Gi­olito said Tues­day. “We trust our tal­ent, and we know that if the game’s close, we have a very good chance of win­ning it, no mat­ter what in­ning or sit­u­a­tion or who’s pitch­ing for them.”

Hahn, mean­while, con­tin­ues to see the big pic­ture as the re­build comes to­gether.

“Peo­ple look at both the growth of the young guys, as well as some of the play­ers we’ve brought in, and they sort of see how this thing could lay out for the bet­ter part of the next decade,” he said. “And with that ex­cite­ment comes ex­pec­ta­tions. And if you get off to a stut­ter step on the start, then, sure, there’s going to be crit­i­cism.

“No one in­ter­nally was pleased with the 1-4 start. But the way that club­house re­sponded speaks to not only their ex­pec­ta­tions, but their abil­ity to re­spond to both high ex­pec­ta­tions as well as early dif­fi­cul­ties.”


White Sox gen­eral man­ager Rick Hahn liked the way the team re­sponded after its rough start


White Sox start­ing pitcher Dal­las Keuchel took the loss after al­low­ing one run and five hits in seven in­nings Wed­nes­day night.

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