Tony La Russa sticking with six-man rotation at least through road trip
La Russa didn’t manage the White Sox on Saturday. He was serving a one-game suspension as a result of the Sox plunking Angels star Shohei Ohtani on Thursday.
White Sox manager Tony La Russa is familiar with the ways his decisions in September can affect how his team performs in the playoffs. Not long after the second half of the season started, La Russa began emphasizing the importance of resting his players, especially the pitchers in the starting rotation.
Before the game Saturday against the Rangers in Arlington, Texas, La Russa said the plan is for the Sox to stick with a six-man rotation for the rest of the road trip through Detroit and Cleveland.
La Russa said he plans to go with Carlos Rodon, Dallas Keuchel and Reynaldo Lopez for the three games against the Tigers. When the five-game set against the Indians begins with a doubleheader Thursday, La Russa will use Dylan Cease for one of those two games.
The Sox have dealt with a few minor injuries to their starting pitchers this month. Rodon has suffered from soreness in his left shoulder, and Lance Lynn recently was out with a sore knee.
But the timing of those ailments might prove beneficial for the Sox. Not only has it allowed the six-man rotation to take shape, but it has given pitchers such as Rodon and Lynn some rest before the playoffs.
‘‘You can take a break you need and be ready to go and ramp up at the end of September,’’ Lynn said last week. “It kind of worked out the best possible way it could have for where we’re at.’’
Rodon has thrown 124⅔ innings this season, the most for him since 2016. The extra workload is part of why he is dealing with soreness in his shoulder.
‘‘It’s kind of my body just getting used to it,’’ Rodon said when he returned from the injured list. ‘‘But I have to go out there and make these last starts. I want to be ready for that postseason push.’’
The hope with the continued six-man rotation is that La Russa can keep his arms healthy and properly rested for October.
‘‘Our fingers are crossed that the plan goes ahead as scheduled,’’ La Russa said.
Shohei suspensions issued
La Russa didn’t manage the Sox on Saturday. He was serving a one-game suspension from Major League Baseball for an incident that occurred during the series finale Thursday against the Angels.
Right-hander Mike Wright hit Angels star Shohei Ohtani with a pitch in the ninth inning, and he and La Russa were tossed. La Russa was ejected for arguing that the plunking wasn’t intentional.
La Russa also was fined by MLB, and Wright is appealing his three-game suspension.
Engel on the way?
Outfielder Adam Engel (shoulder) has been out since Aug. 12, but he began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte on Sept. 7 with his sights on returning to the lineup during the Sox’ current road trip.
La Russa said Engel’s return might come as soon as the series in Detroit, but that will depend on how Engel does with Charlotte in the next couple of games.
‘‘It still depends on how he gets through the current playing time,’’ La Russa said. ‘‘But he’s getting better. He’s making a lot of progress.’’