Chicago White Sox fans, as the “Good Guys” battle through another tough season of disappointing baseball thus far in mid-to-late June, there is at least one plus with this club and his name is Chris Sale.
Sale is entering legendary, all-time record book status with his current five straight 12-plus strikeout games, including Friday night’s 14-strikeout performance, in a no-decision effort against the Texas Rangers, though he left the game with a 1-0 lead after eight very strong innings.
The ace of the White Sox got the no-decision because in the ninth he sat in the dugout as he watched usual reliable closer David Robertson blow the lead and lose the game by a 2-1 score.
But this isn’t about the White Sox losing what is eight-straight games, but about how Sale has been completely dominant in his past five starts, entering a group only occupied by Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez as players who have has 12 or more strikeouts in five straight games.
Sale’s past five games has faced the Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers (twice), Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Rays.
Friday night in his second meeting against the Rangers, Sale went eight innings where he allowed no runs on just two hits, as he had a perfect game through five innings. He finished with the aforementioned 14 strikeouts, the second time he’s achieved that feat in this stretch of games.
In his past five games the lefty has allowed just three earned runs.
This stretch of games began on May 28 where Sale pitched 7.2 innings, striking out 12 with no earned runs and just four hits allowed.
From there Sale pitched at The Ball Park in Arlington against the Rangers in meeting No. 1 where in seven innings he struck out 13, allowed no runs on three hits. After that Sale pitched eight innings of one-run baseball (five hits) against the Houston Astros at U.S. Cellular Field, where he struck out 14.
On June 14 at Tampa Bay, Sale pitched 6.2 innings, and though he allowed two runs on just three hits he did strikeout 12 in what was a loss.
In this span of five games Sale is 3-1 with one no-decision.
I hope the White Sox realize just how lucky they are to have a pitcher with the quality of Sale and realize just how important he is to this team and the fan base. Without Sale, there really isn’t much hope for this team, or at least the impression I get when what this ball club.
According to Scott Merkin of MLB.com, he quoted the White Sox ace as Sale spoke to the media following Friday’s game and joining the group of Martinez and Johnson:
"“Those guys are the best at what they did. It’s an honor to get my name mentioned with them, but it’s something more for you guys and friends and family. I’m here for one reason and that’s winning ballgames. All the other stuff is more of a distraction than anything, really.”"
Since May 12 Sale has had just one game where he’s had less than 10 strikeouts, than being on May 18 against the Cleveland Indians where he struck out seven in a no-decision.
Speaking of strikeouts, here is a list of Sale’s strikeouts since May 12:
• May 12 at Milwaukee, 11 strikeouts
• May 18 vs. Cleveland, 7 strikeouts
• May 23 vs. Minnesota, 10 strikeouts
• May 28 at Baltimore, 12 strikeouts
• June 3 at Texas, 13 strikeouts
• June 8 vs. Houston, 14 strikeouts
• Jun 14 at Tampa Bay, 12 strikeouts
• June 19 vs. Texas, 14 strikeouts
This are some very tough numbers to beat. If anyone doesn’t believe Sale is pitching up to an all-star level now after what was a “slow start” for him early in the season, well they need to rethink how they watch baseball.
Remember what happened to the White Sox ace last year? With his current numbers there is no way he should have to rely on a final fan vote to pitch at the mid-summer classic in Cincinnati this July.
Jun 19, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale (49) throws against the Texas Rangers in the first inning at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
For the season, Sale is 6-3 (13 starts) with a 2.74 ERA. In 88.2 innings pitch Sale has a WHIP of 0.94 and has struck out 119 batters. Sale is pitching better this season than his career ERA of currently 2.76 and a career WHIP of 1.05.
With the caliber of pitching Sale has brought to the mound who knows when this streak of strikeouts will end?
For White Sox fans what is great is Sale gives fans hope of a win, it is just a shame this quality of pitching is being wasted by his teammates as he doesn’t get much run support, or the bullpen hasn’t backed him us as need for parts of this season.
Either way, Sale is a joy to watch, and is pitching exactly like he needs to be as the season inches closer to July.
Sale’s next start should be on June 24 in a 12:10 p.m. CT game at the Minnesota Twins.