Mar 31, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale throws a pitch against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning of an opening day baseball game at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY SportsChris Sale is an appointment pitcher. You, as a White Sox fan, go to a game occasionally? You try to attend a game in which Chris Sale is pitching. You make an appointment to see Sale throw a baseball.
There aren’t many “appointment pitchers” in baseball. Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers and Jose Fernandez of the Marlins are two others. But Chris Sale is one of a few.
He’s all about making you, the hitter, feel uncomfortable at the plate. Whether you’re a lefty or righty, making sense of Sale’s repertoire of pitches, let alone even being able to see them, is a challenge.
And Royals hitters witnessed that challenge today first hand at Kauffman Stadium. James Shields pitched well against a much improved White Sox offense. But Sale was just better, throwing 8 innings, allowing no runs, striking out 6, and walking just 1 Royals batter.
Unlike last season, the Sox offense was able to chip away at Royals pitching, and scored 5 runs in support of Sale, leading to a 5-1 White Sox winner.
In a season that, so far, the White Sox offense appears to be vastly improved, Sale was the story today, much as he’s been since the Sox drafted him in 2010. The Royals, who drafted 9 spots ahead of the White Sox that year, passed on Sale, who fell to the Sox with the 13th pick.
Today’s performance by Sale was another reminder to KC that they, amongst others, made a mistake in not drafting Sale. Sale next pitches against Cleveland at U.S. Cellular Field on Friday April 11th. Make your appointment.