Saturday night in Glendale, Arizona brought a Spring Training match-up that baseball fans could thoroughly enjoy with a few days left before the season officially begins. 2013 NL Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw and White Sox ace Chris Sale dueled in a late-night tilt in the desert (which was also a commercial-free broadcast from Comcast SportsNet Chicago). Sale threw 80 pitches (55 strikes) over 4 1/3 innings, while striking out five, as the Sox beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 5-4.
Kershaw went 5 1/3 innings (86 pitches), allowed five runs on eight hits in his final spring start and with giving up a monster three-run home run to Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia in the sixth inning. Sox lead-off man Adam Eaton also added a round-tripper off Kershaw, but his came in a little bit different fashion.
— Chuck Garfien (@ChuckGarfien) March 16, 2014
Although Sale and the Sox out-dueled Kershaw and the Dodgers in front of a sellout crowd of 13,232, Sale wasn’t exactly pleased with his performance on Saturday.
Sale compared his control tonight to having DISH Network in a rainstorm: sometimes it's there and sometimes it's not
— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) March 16, 2014
All in good humor from Sale of course. After an up & down first inning, Sale settled in nicely over the next 3 1/3 innings. It’s only mid-March, so obviously there’s plenty of time for improvement, especially from one of the game’s best southpaw pitchers.
Sale was asked about the comparisons with Kershaw, arguably the game’s best pitcher:
“Getting compared to a guy like him is a compliment to me. He’s the best in the game, without a doubt. There’s no question. It’s definitely something I appreciate but I have to go out and be myself.” -Chris Sale, WhiteSox.com/MLB.com
The Sox (6-7) take the field in Arizona again on Sunday against the Texas Rangers at 3:05 CT. John Danks will start for the Good Guys against Texas ace Yu Darvish, who will be making his fourth start this spring.