Dallas Keuchel wanted to be the aggressor Thursday night against the Boston Red Sox.
“It just seemed like I wasn’t able to get into a rhythm,” the Chicago White Sox starter said. “A few good pitches sprinkled in but a lot of pitches out over the plate and a couple of cutters that really didn’t get to the spot that I wanted to.”
Keuchel allowed six runs on seven hits and lasted just two innings in a 16-7 loss to the Red Sox in front of 24,896 at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“When he’s right, he’s giving up ground balls,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “Right away most of the balls are in the air (Thursday), which shows that at that point, movement wasn’t there. Location wasn’t there. (Thursday) when they start getting balls in the air, that means at that point, he’s not sharp.
“That’s not normal for him.”
The White Sox dropped two of three in the series. In both losses, they gave up 16 runs and 19 hits.
Andrew Vaughn had a monster night for the White Sox with a home run and a career-high five RBIs, but the Red Sox poured it on late — scoring nine runs in the final three innings — to pull away.
“Good night or bad night, we didn’t come out on top,” Vaughn said. “That’s always going to sting.”
Things didn’t go well early for the Sox either.
Five of the first six Red Sox batters had hits in a three-run first starting, with Enrique Hernández hitting his second leadoff homer of the series.
Trevor Story’s two-out, three-run homer in the second put the White Sox behind 6-0.
Keuchel was out after two innings.
“I am feeling (like) myself, so that is a frustrating aspect of the last two starts,” Keuchel said. “I was really, really feeling like myself (May 8) in Boston and then against New York (May 14) at home, so to take a couple steps back (in the last two starts) is very frustrating.
“I knew that they were going to be looking out over the plate, and just one of those things where the cutter, right now, has been the pitch that’s kind of snakebitten me, with (DJ) LeMahieu (hitting a grand slam in the second inning on May 21), then Story with the three-run homer tonight. It’s like five out of six pitches are really good and then the one that’s not really good is getting hit right now. I’ve got to do a better job of making sure I’m ahead in the count, the count’s in my favor, doing things that I normally do, then we can get back on track.”
Leury García, Adam Engel and Tim Anderson singled to begin the third for the White Sox. Vaughn drove them all in with a double to right, cutting the deficit to 6-3.
The Red Sox scored a run in the top of the fifth. Vaughn hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning, making it 7-5.
That’s as close as it would get.
The Red Sox scored twice in the seventh and five more times in the eighth — including two when Bennett Sousa threw wildly to first on what should have been the third out — on the way to sending the White Sox back to .500 at 22-22.
Infielder Josh Harrison allowed a two-run homer and had one strikeout in the ninth. It was his second career pitching appearance, with the other coming on Aug. 9, 2013 against the Colorado Rockies while with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Keuchel fell to 2-5 with a 7.88 ERA.
“The most frustrating part is the guys behind me, two out of the last three days, they’ve had to wear a lot,” Keuchel said. “If we’re hoping to play 180 games this season, we don’t need that two out of the last three days. That was on me. (Lucas Giolito) did a really, really good job of limiting damage and flipping the count in his favor and getting some weak contact (in Wednesday’s 3-1 White Sox victory).
“It’s frustrating for me for sure, but the most frustrating part is bullpen’s picking up seven innings. Guys behind me are wearing it and out there for four hours and a lot of hits and a lot of runs on the board.”
Keuchel has allowed 12 runs on 13 hits with five walks and four strikeouts in six innings in his last two start.
“I’ve got to do my job,” Keuchel said. “That’s first and foremost. If I don’t do my job, then I’m the first to admit you’ve got other options. I’ve afforded myself some leeway and I’m in no way shape or form out of this thing. It’s been a little bit of a roller coaster the first month and change and the second half of last year outside of a couple injuries.
“If people want to write me off, that’s OK. I’ve been written off before and I’m a competitor and I’m an athlete and we’ll turn the tide. It’s not the first time this is back-to-back starts this has happened. It can turn right back into our favor.”