Lost in all the hubbub about that 15-strikeout game that Sale tortured the Tampa Bay Rays with that one time, Matt Moore is building a far more extensive history of brutality against the White Sox. After 6.1 more innings of effortless shutout ball in the Rays’ easy-breezy 3-0 Saturday night win over the Sox, Moore owns a 1.09 ERA in four starts against the South Siders.
Chris Sale is good. Great, even. He could set the club record for single-game strikeouts very easily one day, he flirted with a perfect game earlier this season. He has yet to come close to winning a game in which his teammates did not score.
And despite outlasting Moore in the game, Sale’s work was not nearly as effortless. After pesky first-inning at-bats from Ben Zobrist and Evan Longoria that set the tone for the night, Sale landed in hot water quickly in the second. Yunel Escobar pushed a leadoff single to right and was followed up by a dribbler up the third base line by Jose Lobaton that Conor Gillaspie couldn’t handle. Sale whipped two sliders over each side of the plate to Luke Scott, but had his 3-2 changeup ripped into the right field corner for an RBI double.
With runners on second and third with no one out, Sale did well to escape with only one more tally on a Desmond Jennings groundout to third. One of his four strikeouts of Sean Rodriguez on the night ended the nightmarish inning. He had nine strikeouts on the night in seven innings, allowing only two earned runs, six hits and a single walk. He’s now 5-8.
Because they had to stumble their way into at least one scoring threat, a bout of wildness from Matt Moore in the third inning–he plunked Alejandro De Aza, walked Alexei Ramirez, then pushed them up with a wild pitch–put the White Sox in business. That business swiftly folded up shop when Alex Rios lined ball straight to Evan Longoria, who beat De Aza to the bag for a double play before he could even retrace his lead. That was it for the delusions of scoring. Adam Dunn hit a fly ball pretty far in the eighth.
Sale suffered the indignity of being dinged for another run off the bat of Sam Fuld–a man he had struck out earlier and specifically targets on occasion–who knocked a bleeder through the middle to plate Wil Myers in the sixth. Myers got his running in ahead of time, advancing from first to third base on a grounder earlier in the inning.
The White Sox are averaging under 2.5 runs per game in support of Chris Sale. They are 16 games under .500. Alex Rios has an OPS under .650 since June 1. Not everything about the Sox is this bad, but most things are this bad.
Team Record: 34-50
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