'He's exactly right': Chicago White Sox react to Keuchel's pointed comments
It started as a softball answer to a question about another White Sox loss.
"I would have liked to see the team play better tonight," Dallas Keuchel said.
As it continued, Keuchel brought the heat.
"We've got a lot of guys, let me take that back, we've got some guys coming out and taking professional at-bats, being professional on the mound and doing what it takes to win, and we've got some guys going through the motions," Keuchel said Monday night after the Sox fell to the Tigers, their fifth loss in six games. "So we need to clean a lot of things up."
Those were some pretty strong words from the visiting clubhouse at Comerica Park, but Keuchel is a rare player who's not afraid to speak his mind and challenge his teammates publicly.
It's important to note -- as White Sox catcher James McCann did -- Keuchel delivered the same message to the rest of the roster before he did the postgame Zoom interview.
"I agree with everything Keuchel said," McCann said. "I'll be the first one to tell you he didn't go through the media and say it. He said it to everyone's face in the clubhouse. First off, that's the sign of a leader. He's going to address how he feels and what he sees to the team and not try to do it through the media.
"With that being said, he's exactly right. Even in a 162-game season, there has to be a sense of urgency. If you go through the motions, you're going to end up looking up in September and chasing the team in first place. It's even more important in September in a 60-game season. There has to be a sense of urgency."
Manager Rick Renteria was doing his postgame Zoom interview with reporters when Keuchel was addressing his teammates.
How did he feel about the veteran starting pitcher's air job?
"I'll say this again, everybody in this country has the right to do and say whatever they want," Renteria said. "I've been saying that since the summer camp began. It started with the masks, everyone has the right to wear them or not wear them. Everybody has the right to speak their mind when they wish to.
"That's not my style, but he spoke to those guys first. I think he addressed what he needed to, or what he felt he needed to, in the clubhouse. He just shared that with you. That's the way it goes, it doesn't move me one way or the other.
"I think the pieces the organization has brought in bring a certain type of experience and they're able to put forth their sense of what they see, or what they believe they see.
"Basically, players have to look themselves in the mirror. If you feel that you're one of those guys that's not giving what they should be giving, if you're honest with yourself, you know who it is, you know who you are. You continue to hopefully adjust to it.
"If you're doing what you're supposed to be doing, it really doesn't affect you very much. I think he felt compelled to do what he did. Again, we encourage all of our guys to do it."
The Sox's bats were charged up Tuesday night, so maybe Keuchel's message got through.
"What he said is cool," said shortstop Tim Anderson, who came off the injured list and rejoined the White Sox's lineup Tuesday. "He is a pitcher. I just take those words and use those to motivate me. He is my pitcher and I do play defense behind him, and for a pitcher to tell me we are not taking professional at-bats, I take that to heart. I'm going to use it as motivation.
"But all good energy, all positive energy. Nothing against him. Somebody had to say it and I think it was the right time for him to say it. The guys get it. It's OK."