"sale all but scratched for sunday: 2-fold reasons, gives him a rest and lets him pitch all-star game.— Daryl Van Schouwen (@CST_soxvan) July 3, 2012"
The purpose of resting Sale for Sunday’s start is actually three-fold, because now 450 words of weighing the pros and cons of Chris Sale pitching in the All-Star Game will never hit the pages of Southside Showdown.
Instead the White Sox are committing to an extended All-Star break for their young ace, and are giving him at least nine days between starts. It was something they were plotting for a while, and as far as large shows of organizational anxiety for young arms go, it’s more appealing that an innings cap. At least this rest has a specific eye toward having Sale available during the stretch run.
Given the way they reacted to his first bout of elbow soreness, it’s likely the Sox were going to have Sale on a reduced workload just out of general concern for his health. But since he showed signs of wearing down during the initial adjustment to starting, there’s no quibbling with the logic of finding rest spots for him. That said, it’d be fun if this was the last one he needed.
Prioritizing the All-Star Game over an actual start seems out of wack, but in this case, it serves as more of a throw day in the middle of a long period of inactivity. That’s not to say that Sale won’t be inordinately keyed-up and overthrow everything, because he probably will, but it’s not going to be a big addition to his already full workload if he’s not starting.
There’s intangible benefits too, like rewarding Sale for an honor he admitted he was “speechless” in response to, or giving national spotlight to the top talent of the otherwise low-profile White Sox.
That’s helpful, but won’t be much comfort on Sunday where the White Sox will be throwing ‘TBA’ on the hill. Philip Humber was still throwing off of flat ground on Tuesday, and Dylan Axelrod is already in the rotation, so it’s a real mystery where a new, viable arm is coming from. The standard isn’t especially high, since the Blue Jays are slated to offer the struggling Brett Cecil, so Charlie Leesman or Simon Castro from AAA might do the trick
The last game before the All-Star break is also a fun day to try to pull off an all-bullpen game, although a rookie-filled pen with no long man is not the ideal group for such a task. Anything they come up with will be an enormous step down, but there will be a decent enough distraction a couple days later.