Dallas Keuchel struggles again, allowing 5 earned runs in 3-plus innings as the Chicago White Sox lose 7-2 to the Kansas City Royals: ‘It’s self-imposed’

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Dallas Keuchel hasn’t had many stretches during his career like the current rough patch he is on.

The Chicago White Sox left-hander allowed six runs, five earned, on seven hits in three-plus innings Friday in a 7-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals in front of 14,210 at Kauffman Stadium.

Keuchel has surrendered at least five earned runs in three straight outings.

“I wish it would’ve gone better,” Keuchel said. “I felt really good in the first and it just didn’t really carry over to the second. Just trying too hard and it just kind of backfired on me. I’ve been putting myself in holes that I shouldn’t be doing or I haven’t done in the past. It’s self-imposed.”

A leadoff walk hurt him in the second inning as Edward Olivares later scored on a groundout. Andrew Benintendi’s two-out RBI triple made it 2-0.

The Royals scored four in the third. Adalberto Mondesi drove in two with a single, and a third run scored on a fielding error by center fielder Luis Robert. Michael A. Taylor knocked in Mondesi with a single, extending the lead to 6-0. All four runs came with two outs.

Keuchel exited after allowing a double to Benintendi to begin the fourth.

“He’s searching,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “He makes some good ones and then he misses. He walked a couple of guys. He’s searching and I know he’s not going to quit. He’ll keep fighting and figure it out. He was talking to (pitching coach) Ethan (Katz) and he’ll figure something out.”

Friday’s game started after a rain delay of 2 hours, 3 minutes. Keuchel didn’t see that as a factor.

“I’ve had a three-hour rain delay before,” he said. “You’ve got to deal with the circumstances and everybody was dealing with the same thing. (Royals starter Carlos) Hernández had been pitching really well for them and I knew I had to be pretty good, so warming up felt great and then the first inning was pretty good, just couldn’t replicate it from then on out.”

Keuchel finished fifth in the American League Cy Young Award voting in 2020 but hasn’t been able to match that type of consistency this season. His ERA is 5.22.

After going 6-2 with a 3.96 ERA through June, he’s 2-5 with a 7.26 ERA in his last 11 starts since July 3.

“I think a lot of it had to do with I’m trying to make perfect pitches,” Keuchel said. “Obviously it hasn’t been going well, especially the last three starts. It’s just a little bit of I’m trying way too hard in certain situations. I’m not making consistent competitive pitches and getting ahead of guys.

“It’s almost like I’m wasting one or two pitches and then the count is back even, and then I’m not making as quality of a pitch as I should be. I should be sitting five, six innings, and 65-70 pitches, and instead I’m going three-plus and 60. It’s not a good recipe.”

He threw 75 pitches Friday.

Keuchel allowed six runs in five innings Aug. 21 against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., and six runs, five earned, in one-plus inning Aug. 27 against the Cubs at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Keuchel has a 16.00 ERA in his last three starts.

“I’ve been anywhere from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs and everywhere in between,” he said. “So I’m not the guy that complains or that gets hit around and makes excuses. I need to pitch better, I need to make more competitive pitches consistently. But I know what I need to do and it’s just a matter of going out there and doing it.”

The Sox rallied in that game against the Cubs for a wild 17-13 win. But there would be no such comeback Friday as Hernández allowed two runs on five hits with three strikeouts and three walks in six innings.

Three of his last six starts have come against the Sox. He’s 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA, allowing three runs in 17 innings.

“He’s pitched impressively,” La Russa said. “I remember I watched him on the tape the first time and I was impressed with his fastball. He commands the breaking ball and he’s got a good changeup.”

La Russa is confident Keuchel will bounce back.

“The good thing about it is he’s a veteran,” La Russa said. “They’ve been studying it and keep working on it. You know what he’s capable of doing. Everybody struggles in this game at one point. He’s working. They were talking in the dugout after he got taken out. He’ll figure something out.”