In 15 1/3 innings in his two starts this season, Chris Sale has given up nine hits, three runs, two walks and struck out 14 hitters. Sunday afternoon brought another Chris Sale gem for the White Sox. Sale went eight innings, gave up just four hits, walked only one and struck out six on 111 pitches in a 5-1 Sox win in their series finale against the Kansas City Royals. Why was today so important for Sale and the Sox?
White Sox/MLB.com beat writer Scott Merkin explained:
The Sox took a 1-0 lead into the ninth inning, then exploded for four runs on three hits, including a throwing error by Royals catcher Salvador Perez on a steal attempt by pinch-runner Leury Garcia. The Sox ended their two-game slide with some late-inning offense, but the story of the day was Chris Sale.
Sale faced 28 hitters on Sunday, he threw first-pitch strikes to 19 of them. 75 of his 111 pitches were strikes. Out of the 22 outs Sale forced, nine were fly-ball outs, eight were ground-ball outs and six were strikeouts. Just like on Opening Day against Minnesota, Sale walked only one hitter.
Although the Sox only mustered one run on five hits in the first eight innings of the game, they found a way to build a cushion late and avoid a third straight loss after back-to-back wins to open the season. Adam Dunn led off the ninth inning with a base-hit to right center. Leury Garcia pinch-ran for Dunn and advanced to second after Dayan Viciedo walked.
After Conor Gillaspie popped up a bunt, Garcia stole third and then scored after a bad throw from Salvador Perez to make it 2-0 White Sox. Alejandro De Aza came in to pinch-run for Viciedo and then scored after a Avisail Garcia walk and an Alexei Ramirez double to make it 3-0 Sox. Tyler Flowers finished the scoring off for the Sox with a two-run single to center to make it 5-0.
Next up, the White Sox will face off against the Colorado Rockies. You can find White Sox vs. Rockies tickets from FrontRowTickets.com.
-It’s only two starts, but this could be the year Chris Sale is the top contender for the AL Cy Young Award. He’s one of the toughest pitchers for hitters to face in not just the American League, but all of Major League Baseball.
-With injuries around the infield to Jeff Keppinger and Gordon Beckham and Marcus Semien off to a 4-for-28 start, Conor Gillaspie has had a real nice start to the year. Gillaspie went 2-for-4 today with a pair of doubles.
-Speaking of Gordon Beckham, his timetable is uncertain, according to CSN Chicago’s Dan Hayes. Beckham is still feeling some discomfort with the oblique when he swings the bat.
-For those keeping track, Adam Dunn’s strikeout counter for the 2014 season is up to 10.
Positive Sox Thought of the Day:
White Sox beat writer Scott Merkin with a realistic outlook for the Sox in 2014: