White Sox turn to Keuchel to win first Postseason series since 2005

We know that it’s been a long time since the Chicago White Sox have been in the Postseason — 12 years to be exact — but it’s been even longer since they’ve won a Postseason series. Their last trip to the playoffs was an abbreviated one, falling to the Tampa Bay Rays in just five games in the 2008 American League Divisional Series.

The last time the White Sox won a Postseason series was in 2005 when they celebrated a World Series Championship at Minute Maid Park after sweeping the Houston Astros. Four years later those same Houston Astros drafted a left-hander out of the University of Arkansas, Dallas Keuchel.

In baseball’s seemingly never fleeting poetic fashion, 15 years after their Game 4 victory over the Astros in 2005, it’s Keuchel that the White Sox will turn to as they look to win their first Postseason series since.

Keuchel came to the White Sox this past winter on a three-year, $55 million deal during free-agency after spending one partial season with the Atlanta Braves. Keuchel won a World Series with Houston in 2017, made the playoffs with Atlanta in 2019, and made it clear from the start that he came to Chicago looking to pitch in the Postseason at least a few more times.

Keuchel was brilliant in the abbreviated 2020 campaign, posting a 6-2 record and a sterling 1.99 ERA to go along with 42 strikeouts and a 1.09 WHIP in 11 starts for the White Sox.

He also played a major role in the development of this core of young stars throughout one of the most unprecedented years in MLB history, and after a lackluster start to the season, Keuchel made it known to the clubhouse that the collective performance wasn’t acceptable, and that guys needed to start acting like they want to win baseball games.

That early August night in Detroit is the first — and possibly most defining — moment that you can point to when you look back on the success of the 2020 White Sox, and it was the veteran leadership of Dallas Keuchel that defined it.

Now, the White Sox have the chance to once again jump on the back of their veteran southpaw this afternoon in Oakland, and past numbers tell us that Keuchel is up to the challenge.

In 12 career Postseason games, Keuchel is 4-2 with a 3.47 ERA (23 ER/59.1 IP). Opposing hitters have been held to a .234/.296/.405 slash like and struck out 52 times while mustering up only eight home runs against the soft-tossing left-hander.

Keuchel is also no stranger to the Oakland Athletics, having spent the first seven years of his career pitching for the Houston Astros in the American League West.

Keuchel owns a solid 3.06 ERA in 141.1 career innings against Oakland, and he’s mowed down 92 batters via the strikeouts while allowing only 10 home runs to the Athletics. Keuchel has logged 15 quality starts against Oakland in 20 attempts.

If Keuchel can just continue the combination of his 2020 success coupled with his past success on the Postseason stage and against the Oakland Athletics, the White Sox will have a great shot at coming out victorious later this afternoon, and punching their ticket to the ALDS next week.

Dallas Keuchel gets another shot at earning that big contract this afternoon. First pitch is set for 2:10 pm (CT), and he’ll be opposed by former White Sox prospect Chris Bassitt. You can catch the game on ESPN (TV) or WGN AM 720 (Radio).

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