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It’ll be Lucas Giolito and Dallas Keuchel for White Sox vs. A’s; after that is anyone’s guess

The Sox’ bullpen will play a key role in the wild-card series.

Lucas Giolito is expected to start Game 1 of the White Sox’ playoff series against the A’s.
Lucas Giolito is expected to start Game 1 of the White Sox’ playoff series against the A’s.
Ron Schwane/Getty Images

Dylan Cease didn’t have it Friday.

Rookie Dane Dunning didn’t have it Saturday.

And Reynaldo Lopez got crushed by the Cubs on Sunday.

Those are your top three White Sox possibilities to start a potential Game 3 in the best-of-three wild-card series against the Athletics that begins Tuesday in Oakland, California.

It’s not exactly a treasure trove of starting pitchers to choose from after Lucas Giolito and Dallas Keuchel, who will take the ball in Games 1 (Tuesday, 2 p.m. CT, ESPN) and 2 (Wednesday, 2 p.m., ESPN) respectively.

The Sox should be in good hands with Giolito (4-3, 3.48 ERA) and the playoff-tested Keuchel (6-2, 1.99), but they might not let their plan be known until the last minute.

‘‘It is not any clearer, but we have a couple of ideas we’re working on,’’ manager Rick Renteria said after the Sox lost to the Cubs 10-8 to close the regular season. ‘‘We have three guys that are capable of at least starting. There’s another strategy we might employ.’’

That might include piggybacking or perhaps a bullpen day. In any event, the Sox likely will be leaning heavily on their bullpen after banking on Giolito and Keuchel to go deep in their starts.

‘‘That’s become one of our strengths,’’ catcher James McCann said of a bullpen that features three rookies.

The starting rotation after Giolito and Keuchel? Not so much.

Cease (4.01 ERA) hasn’t worked beyond five innings in his last three starts, has walked 14 in those starts and allowed three home runs to the Cubs on Friday. Dunning (3.97 ERA), who has made seven starts, has tailed off in his last two, lasting four and three innings and allowing eight runs. Lopez (6.49 ERA) allowed six runs, four hits and three walks in 1„ innings Sunday.

Jimenez improving ‘exponentially’

Left fielder Eloy Jimenez (foot sprain), who missed the entire series against the Cubs, was much improved, Renteria said.

‘‘[Monday] is going to be actually a big day for [Jimenez],’’ Renteria said. ‘‘He’s improving exponentially, I should say. And tomorrow will be a good day for us to kind of truly assess where he’s at. Because then we can kind of probably put him through the wringer and see where he’s at.’’

Not great vs. good teams

The Sox went 9-1 against the Royals and Tigers and 3-1 against the Pirates — all losing teams — for a collective 21-3. They were 2-8 against the Indians, 1-2 against the Reds and Cardinals and 3-3 against the Cubs — teams with winning records.

This and that

Left-hander Gio Gonzalez, who was being used in a mop-up role, left the game with a sore shoulder. Gonzalez, signed as a free agent last offseason, has been plagued by shoulder issues the last two seasons.

• After hitting Kyle Schwarber with a pitch, left-hander Carlos Rodon retired five batters in a row, including a strikeout of Javy Baez. It was Rodon’s second appearance since he came off the injured list Wednesday, when he gave up a pair of game-deciding two-run hits in a loss to the Indians.

• Designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion’s seasonlong struggle continued to the final day, with three strikeouts and a walk. Encarnacion was 18-for-124 in his last 34 games.(Tue