After getting a huge strikeout of A's slugger Matt Olson with two runners on base to end the first inning of the winner-take-all Wild Card Series Game 3, White Sox rookie reliever Garrett Crochet started the second inning by striking out Khris Davis. But then he appeared to be in pain while flexing his hand -- which sometimes shows an injury to the forearm -- and was immediately removed from the game.
It was certainly a worrisome scene for the White Sox. There's no word just yet as to the severity of Crochet's injury, but the White Sox have said he departed with left forearm tightness. That's often a precursor to UCL problems, which could lead to Tommy John surgery, though it's far too early to believe that's the path he's headed down. It could end up being minor.
The next half-inning, Eloy Jimenez crushed a ball to the left-center gap and re-injured himself while running hard to second base. He's been dealing with a right foot sprain for the past week and appeared to clear himself ready to play during batting practice on Thursday. He certainly hit the ball hard, but then didn't hold back enough while getting to second. He immediately had to be removed from the game. The official word is "right foot discomfort." If the White Sox hold on, they play again on Monday, so let's consider his situation day to day at this point.
Jimenez, 23, hit .296/.332/.559 with 14 doubles, 14 homers and 41 RBI in 55 games during the regular season. The White Sox have a deep lineup, but they are much better with him in it.
Crochet, a 21-year-old lefty, was actually a first-round draft pick by the White Sox this year. In September, he established himself as quite the weapon out of their bullpen. In the regular season, he worked six scoreless innings in which he only allowed three hits and struck out eight without issuing a single walk. As noted above, he struck out the only two hitters he faced in the playoffs, so if we combined it, he struck out 10 hitters in 24 batters faced in the majors.
Despite the good results, the outing in Game 3 on Thursday included some red flags. Crochet had been averaging between 100 and 101 miles per hour with his fastball since arriving on the scene for the White Sox. In this game, he was between 98 and 99 against Olson and then his last fastball to Khris Davis was 96.0 miles per hour. His slider generally sits in the 87-88 range and his last pitch to Davis was an 83.8 miles per hour slider. This is why the forearm tightness mention is so concerning.