May 1, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Chicago White Sox pitcher Chris Sale (49) pitches in the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Sale Plays Stopper As Sox Take One In Texas

A rough start for both starters eased into a pitching duel of sorts until the White Sox broke out late and chased Rangers’ rookie Nick Tepesch. Chris Sale struggled early and settled in for what eventually added up to 7 strong innings and the end of a White Sox losing streak.

White Sox (11-15): 5
Rangers (17-10): 2

Staked to a 2-0 lead Sale had a laborious 34-pitch 2nd inning in which he gave the lead right back. It looked to be another long night, and one that would give the bullpen plenty of work. Sale managed to right the ship and hung on for 5 more innings. At a glance, his line on the night, 7 innings, 7 strikeouts, 2 runs and 2 walks looks like a standard quality outing but doesn’t quite tell the tale. It’s nights like these where things aren’t coming easy that show growth as a pitcher and ability to do the job without overpowering hitters. It’s not his first outing in 2013 of this nature, an encouraging sign that Chris Sale is on his way to becoming a legit ace.

The offense scratched across a pair in each of the first two innings. The second of which was all they could net from a bases loaded, with the lone run scoring on a Tyler Flowers double play. The 7th inning brought scoring of a more familiar fashion: the longball. Conor Gillaspie lead off the inning and continued his quality hitting with a HR and Alejandro De Aza added one of his own, this of the 2-run variety, which chased Tepesch from the game.

A.J. Pierzynski finally got into the action, pinch hitting in the 9th for what looked like a relatively harmless at-bat. With a 5-2 lead and two outs, Addison Reed hit A.J. with a pitch in his right arm. A.J. wasn’t happy, tossed his bat and headed to first. Next up Ian Kinsler singled to center, bringing the tying run to the plate in the form of Elvis Andrus, but Reed struck him out swinging to end the game.

Plus: Chris Sale showing chutzpah and guiding the team to victory is about as encouraging as it gets. A team that has an ace that can give a good showing regardless of how he feels is a team that can avoid prolonged losing streaks. If you’re not on a losing streak, you could be on a winning streak. It’s also been over a week since Alejandro had a multi-hit game, and you’d have to go back a week further to find the one before that. A productive Alejandro at the top of the lineup can do wonders.

Minus: Adam Dunn came into the game with a 5 game hitting streak, and it’s true, to expect a player of his nature to carry a prolonged streak that doesn’t have anything to do with strikeouts is probably foolish. He’s raised his average 50 points in 9 days and then he goes and ruins it with an 0-4. Well at least he only struck out once.

Player of the Game:
Chris Sale – .244 WPA


Source: FanGraphs

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