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Carlos Rodón, Dallas Keuchel: Will they make Chicago White Sox playoff roster? – Chicago Tribune

The Chicago White Sox don’t have to announce their postseason roster for another week.

Dallas Keuchel, who could be the odd man out of the playoff rotation after a disappointing season, had a chance to make another impression in a makeup game Monday at Comerica Park.

The veteran left-hander allowed two runs on seven hits in five innings in an 8-7 victory against the Detroit Tigers.

“Just trying to make pitches consistently more so than probably any other part of the year,” Keuchel said in a videoconference from Detroit. “Along with that, I felt like I had really, really good stuff. Outside of a few pitches early, getting myself in trouble there in the second with a couple of walks, I felt that I was right on par with who I am.

“Probably a little too late with the four or five bad starts in a row. In this league, you don’t get a lot of second chances to rewind, and I’m paying for it now. But that was a nice win.”

Even after all the travel — Arlington, Texas, to Detroit to Cleveland and back to Detroit — there was plenty of fight left for the Sox in what manager Tony La Russa described as “one of our best moments of the year” and “a great win for us.”

The makeup game included a bench-clearing incident in the ninth. José Abreu got hit by a pitch — his 21st time getting hit this season — and moments later Sox bench coach Miguel Cairo got ejected.

Abreu attempted to take second on a wild pitch and the Tigers objected to his slide, leading to an argument and the benches clearing.

“See, when they have issues when somebody plays aggressively, but not when they pitch aggressively and beyond the limits,” La Russa said. “The game is played two ways, not just one way.”

La Russa declined to discuss the sequence of events much further.

“The guy’s the MVP,” Keuchel said. “Got to protect our guys and he’s no different. I thought the slide was hard at second base, but it was a good slide. There was no ill intent on that as well. If I was pitching tomorrow, I’d try to stick up for (Abreu) myself — or I guess Friday.”

José Abreu, right, is held back by second base umpire Tim Timmons from Tigers shortstop Niko Goodrum (28) as Jeimer Candelario, second from left, tries to help in the ninth inning Monday.

José Abreu, right, is held back by second base umpire Tim Timmons from Tigers shortstop Niko Goodrum (28) as Jeimer Candelario, second from left, tries to help in the ninth inning Monday. (Paul Sancya/AP)

The Sox and Tigers close out the regular season with a three-game series at Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday through Sunday. But first comes a two-game series against the Cincinnati Reds and another chance to evaluate Carlos Rodón’s health.

Rodón’s bullpen session Sunday was so-so, according to La Russa, making his postseason status uncertain as well.

“It was just OK,” La Russa said before the game. “But I’ve been talking to him and he says he can take the ball Wednesday. He’ll just play catch the next couple of days. He didn’t really let it go anything game-like, but he said he’s good to try it on Wednesday so we’re anxious to see him.”

La Russa’s rotation for the best-of-five American League Division Series matchup, likely against the Houston Astros, has two certainties in Lucas Giolito and Lance Lynn, though the order is undetermined. Dylan Cease is the likely Game 3 starter and will start the regular-season finale Sunday against the Tigers.

After that, it’s anyone’s guess. The Sox could go back to the Game 1 starter — Giolito or Lynn — or go with an opener — perhaps Rodón or Michael Kopech — followed by a bullpen day. The Sox employed a bullpen day in Game 3 of the playoffs last year against the Oakland A’s with disastrous results that led to Rick Renteria’s firing.

La Russa said he doesn’t have preconceived notions about what to expect from Rodón on Wednesday against the Reds. Rodón threw 69 pitches and three innings in his last start with a velocity drop and abruptly left a postgame news conference after being asked one too many times about his “sore” arm.

“You hope for the best and prepare for the worst,” La Russa said. “Hope for the best, that he can go out there four, five or six innings. And if he doesn’t, we’ll have somebody behind him.”

La Russa and his staff have a little more than a week to figure things out and he said he isn’t looking past the game at hand. He understands that Rodón wants to take his turn in the postseason rotation and that he was a major contributor to the Sox success. The Sox will give Rodón every opportunity to prove his arm is OK for the first round.

White Sox pitcher Carlos Rodón walks to the dugout against the Tigers in the third inning on Sept. 20, 2021.

White Sox pitcher Carlos Rodón walks to the dugout against the Tigers in the third inning on Sept. 20, 2021. (Paul Sancya/AP)

“Whether we’re being fair or just hungry for more wins, it makes sense to give him as much leeway and time to prove he’s good to go,” La Russa said. “We’ll see what he’s got in him.”

Keuchel is 9-9 with a 5.13 ERA after finishing 6-2 with a 1.99 ERA during the 60-game 2020 season. La Russa wouldn’t rule him out of the postseason.

“He’s got a track record,” he said. “He’s got experience, he’s got history. Obligation is to take your best shot at winning. Whoever gets the ball has earned it in the opinion of the decision makers, and because we’re deep enough, it’s going to be some really tough conversations, tough decisions.”

After a string of four straight starts allowing at least five earned runs, Keuchel has allowed two runs in each of his last three starts.

“I would like to be better,” he said when asked about his 2021 season. “I don’t know what the future is going to hold here with the next week or two, but can’t really say a whole lot more than what the other four starters have been doing the whole year.

“I’m extremely proud of what the starting staff has done. I’m going to be happy for anything that happens. I hope we win the World Series. You never know. I’d like to be a part of it, but who knows.”

The Sox have questions remaining about which reserves merit a roster spot and how many pitchers to put on the 26-man roster. Would there be room for someone like Billy Hamilton, whose speed could be valuable near the end of a close game? Or do you want a more dependable bat off the bench?

La Russa said nothing is set in stone about the roster.

“We’ve been looking at that but haven’t been focusing on that as much as we are now,” he said. “I’ve been talking about (avoiding) distractions. You get a piece of your brain thinking about roster for October, and you’re not paying attention to the game you’re playing. Now we’re more focused on it and everyone will come up with their (ideas) and we’ll evaluate it, but there’s still more time.

“You’re watching literally every day from here until the end to make that final call.”

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