MOVING ON FROM ALL THAT
SOX AREN’T OVERTHINKING CARDINALS’ HEALTH ISSUES OR KEUCHEL’S WAKE-UP CALL
After some uncertainty, the White Sox are returning to game action Saturday.
What’s still unclear is whether veteran pitcher Dallas Keuchel’s strong words had any influence on their recent victories.
The Sox will face the Cardinals in a doubleheader comprised of seven-inning games after their meeting Friday was postponed. Lucas Giolito will start the first matchup, and the second will be a bullpen game against the Cardinals, who will be playing for the first time since July 29 because of a coronavirus outbreak.
“It is very difficult to think about that,” first baseman Jose Abreu said Friday through a translator, referring to the Cardinals’ return after seven players and several other staff members tested positive. “I don’t think we are in a position to judge anybody. I think, as a team, we are afraid, we have concerns. But MLB and all the protocols that have been put into place — with St. Louis, they are giving them the green light. That’s good . . . . I think we just have to take care of ourselves and protect ourselves and do the best we can under these circumstances.”
For Abreu, that might mean wearing a gaiter scarf or some other covering, though he wasn’t sure he’d do it because he finds it difficult to play with a face mask.
“Definitely I will try to protect myself,” Abreu said. “We all have to.”
To compensate for the extra day off, the Sox worked out Friday at Guaranteed Rate Field. Manager Rick Renteria mentioned the Marlins’ strong return after their own coronavirus outbreak as a reason not to take the Cardinals for granted this weekend.
As for safety, Renteria said the team isn’t concerned.
“We’ve continued to kind of tighten up ourselves as well,” he said. “At this point, I haven’t heard any concerns from anybody.”
On Monday, Keuchel voiced a different kind of concern after a 5-1 loss in Detroit. In pointed comments to reporters that echoed what he told the Sox privately, Keuchel said some of his teammates were going through the motions. He said the Sox looked flat and were getting “very subpar play from everybody.”
What followed were a pair of wins over the Tigers on Tuesday and Wednesday. But Abreu wasn’t willing to link Keuchel’s criticism to the victories.
“I don’t think the team responded the way we did because of Dallas’ words,” Abreu said. “I think we just did what we were supposed to do and we won those two games. We are trying to win every single game . . . . And if people think it differently, that’s fine. But I think we as players are just trying to do the job we know we can do and we are supposed to do.”
Pressed further, Abreu said he did appreciate the conversation Keuchel had with the group.
“It’s not a secret that the first game in Detroit wasn’t one of our best games,” he said. “That was a bad game for us. But it wasn’t because we didn’t want to do good. It just was one of those games where we couldn’t do better in that particular time.
“The next two days, we did perform, and we did what we were supposed to do. Then that’s why I think there’s no reason for people to put the spotlight on what Dallas said, because we won the last two games. I think we would do it either way.”
NOTE: No timelines have been set for starters Carlos Rodon (sore left shoulder) or Reynaldo Lopez (sore right shoulder) to return. Rick Renteria said Lopez would throw two innings in a side session Friday. ✶
Jose Abreu may or may not play with a face covering when the Sox host the Cardinals in their post-outbreak return Saturday.
Sox pitcher Dallas Keuchel didn’t mince words when he called out teammates for lackluster effort after a loss Monday. They won their next two games, but Jose Abreu doesn’t think Keuchel was the catalyst.