So, technically, the last time Chris Sale and Matt Moore squared off, it was on September 29. Flagging under the last stretch of his 192 inning workload, Sale was knocked around mercilessly and left in the fourth inning as the Tampa Bay Rays bludgeoned the Sox playoff hopes into a bloody mist. Matt Moore glided through 5.1 innings only allowing a single hit, but was pulled in some sort of “Stop, STOP, they’re already dead” move, since the Rays were up 6-0 at the time.
But the other Sale vs. Moore matchup. The one last May. Yes, that was fine. Very good, even. 15 strikeouts by Chris Sale.
With double-digit strikeout games in three of his last four starts and his velocity kicking as good as ever (he averaged over 95 mph on his fastball his last time out), Sale is certainly looking strong enough to pull anything off. But this is not the Rays offense he controlled last May. They have six above-average hitters in their lineup tonight according to wRC+. The White Sox will put out three.
White Sox Lineup
Chris Sale, SP
Look, look, look, look. I like Conor Gillaspie’s ability to be a playable, if not particularly good, third basemen as much as the next guy. He’s in a bit of a recovery after a miserable June. But he’s hitting .176/.176/.206 against left-handed pitching with zero walks and 10 strikeouts in 34 plate appearances, and starting for the Rays tonight is a really tough left-hander. It’s not unforgivable to play Gillaspie, it just raises questions like “Why is Brent Morel here?”
Tampa Bay Rays Lineup
Matt Moore, SP
FUN FACT: Switch-hitting catcher Jose Lobaton has four home runs in 164 plate appearances this season. Half of them took place in the Rays’ April series at U.S. Cellular Field. One of them came off of Dylan Axelrod–which is normal–the other came off of Chris Sale. The one run Sale allowed in his 15-strikeout game? RBI single by Jose Lobaton.
Jose Lobaton is here to kill us.
Where to Watch: FOX. You can’t type “Fox,” it’s gotta be “FOX”
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