White Sox All-Star will make final start of season in team’s finale on Sunday against Twins. The left-handed pitcher is vying for 18th win, which would be a career-high in a single season.
The Chicago White Sox won’t reach 80 victories this season, but they still have a chance to end the season with positive momentum for 2017. After a 6-0 loss on Saturday to the Twins, the Sox have the chance to win its third consecutive series to end the season if they can beat Minnesota on Sunday afternoon.
Chris Sale will make his final start of the season Sunday, and will look to notch his 18th victory of the season. If Sale is able to reach 18 wins, he will set a new career-high for wins in a single season. Sale is currently 17-9 with a 3.21 ERA.
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Although Sale most likely won’t win the AL Cy Young Award, he’s still having a successful season for the Sox. Sale hasn’t been as dominant in the second half, as he was in the first half of this season however. In his last seven starts, Sale is 2-3 with a 3.40 ERA for the Sox. Despite this, Sale is coming off an impressive outing in his previous start on Tuesday against the Rays.
The start for Sale was impressive given that he was coming off his shortest outing of the season against the Phillies on Sept .21. In his start against the Rays on Sept .27, Sale pitched seven innings and recorded seven strikeouts while allowing three earned runs. For the season, Sale has 227 strikeouts. This a drastic decrease from his strikeout totals from last season when he ended 2015 with a franchise record 274 strikeouts.
However, Sale’s strikeout total for this season will be his second highest in any season for his career. Sale began the season pitching to more contact, and it was successful for him. After the All-Star break, Sale changed course and started to miss more bats. Sale didn’t record double-digit strikeouts in a game this season until Aug. 3 against the Tigers. In that start, Sale recorded 10 strikeouts.
Sale’s reasoning behind pitching to contact was simple, he wanted to pitch deeper into games and it has paid off this season. Sale has thrown a career-high six complete games this season. His previous career-high in complete games was four, a feat he accomplished in 2013. This season could arguably go down as one of Sale’s best. Especially if he has a spectacular outing on Sunday afternoon.
This season, Sale made one start against the Twins and was able to come away victorious. Although he’s had trouble with the Twins in the past, Sale can end his season with a solid start against a struggling Minnesota team. Sale’s last start against the Twins came on May 7. In that game, Sale pitched seven innings and allowed two earned runs against the Twins.
With the Sox ending another losing season on Sunday, this will be the final time Sox fans can see Sale pitch in 2016. If the Sox opt to rebuild in the offseason, Sunday could be the last start for Sale in a Sox uniform. Hopefully, the Sox opt to try to contend in 2017. It would be a shame for Sox fans if they never see Sale pitch a meaningful game on the South Side.