Keegan Thompson Carves White Sox in ‘Lucky’ Start

The Cubs have played some pretty bad baseball this year, but the White Sox have also looked washed. Perhaps that’s why Keegan Thompson was able to slice through them like they were a wet paper bag and he had scissors in his hand. Or maybe that was his cutter. Whatever the case, he was able to carve up his opponents despite not being as sharp as he would have liked.

“Honestly, not much of anything,” Thompson told the media when asked what was working for him. “I feel like I was kind of all over the place and not really hitting a ton of spots. I just got really lucky.”

Given Tony La Russa‘s self-appointed role as the gatekeeper of propriety in baseball, that’s the sort of humblebrag that might get a Cubs batter thrown at in Sunday’s matchup. But Thompson wasn’t trying to crow about his performance or put down the Sox, he was just being honest.

With only four strikeouts, he had to rely on his defense pretty heavily to allow that lone run. Even though most of his batted-ball results fell pretty much in line with his season averages, Thompson gave up a lot more hard contact than usual and was still able to keep the Sox from scoring on all but a Jake Burger homer in the 5th inning.

Adam Engel doubled four pitches later to bring up the top of the order with one out and a man in scoring position, then Thompson went 3-1 on Tim Anderson. With Scott Effross warming in the bullpen, the next few pitches would determine the starter’s fate. A groundout and subsequent flyout from Josh Harrison ended the threat and allowed Thompson to qualify for the win to push his record to 5-0 on the season.

Speaking of Effross, the 6th inning was one of the more dominant displays we’ve seen from any reliever this season. Even with the walk to José Abreu, Effross got three swinging strikeouts of the 3, 5, and 6 hitters and made them all look silly in the process. AJ Pollock appeared particularly lost as he waved at three pitches that were never strikes.

Thompson has established himself as a weapon in both the rotation and bullpen for a team that has needed more innings from both units. The only question now is where he fits best long-term given the current flux and pending upheaval across the entire staff. If only the Cubs had a spot for a top prospect to come up and help solidify things and give them a better idea of where they need to shore things up.

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