Gonzalez has pitched both out of the bullpen and from the rotation this season. Given the injury concerns for the soon-to-be 35-year-old, Chicago could reason that the bullpen would be the prudent and more effective usage play for Gonzalez. Instead, they’re likely to put him back into their starting five for now alongside Lucas Giolito, Dallas Keuchel, Dylan Cease, and Dane Dunning. Keuchel has been struggling with a balky back, so getting Gonzalez tuned up and back to his usual innings-eating self could be a benefit for the Pale Hose come playoff time.
The veteran southpaw has the battle scars to mark his playoff resume. He’s made 8 starts in his postseason career for the Nationals and Brewers with his team’s going an even 4-4 in those games. Batters have hit just .215/.346/.393 over those 29 1/3 innings, while Gonzalez has racked up 27 strikeouts and a 4.91 ERA. In sum, Gonzalez has suppressed batter contact and power throughout his playoff tenure, but also struggled at times with command leading to short starts and an average start length of less than 4 innings. Still, when the playoffs roll around, 4 solid innings from a time-tested veteran might be preferable to relying on the youth of Cease and/or Dunning. Now that the White Sox have all guaranteed a playoff berth, we have only time in the way of learning the White Sox’ postseason strategy.
The 25-year-old Burdi made 8 appearances this season, and while 13.5 K/9 to 3.7 BB/9 are sound peripheral numbers, Burdi was saddled with an 11.05 ERA across 7 1/3 innings. An 8.57 FIP only paints a marginally better picture for the hard-throwing right-hander. Things started out well-enough when Burdi allowed just 1 earned run over his first four outings, but 8 earned runs over his final 3 1/3 marred the earlier performance and likely played a role in his demotion. The Illinois-native suffered a particularly brutal 1/3 of an inning at the hands of the Royals, surrendering a solo shot, an RBI single, and then another long ball to Maikel Franco that plated three and ended Burdi’s evening. Despite the rough outings, Burdi boasts an electric 98 mph fastball and will find his way back to the majors.