Chris Sale faces former team for first time, but isn’t able to pitch more than five innings. His former teammate didn’t fare much better.
The aftermath of the Chris Sale trade back in December spoke volumes to the fan-base of the Chicago White Sox: the time to rebuild is now. Two months into fully committing to a rebuild, the Sox have played better than anticipated to start 2017. On Tuesday night, however, they would go toe-to-toe with their former ace and now current ace of the Boston Red Sox in Sale.
Sale, 28, after his tenure ended in Chicago, is now argued to be the greatest pitcher in White Sox franchise history. In 7 seasons with the Sox, Sale went 74-50, tossed over 1,000 innings, stuck out more than 1,200 batters and completed 14 games. Sale has also been named to 5 consecutive All-Star games, (he won the 2013 All-Star game) and has finished in the top 6 in Cy Young voting for the past five seasons. Even through all of that, Sale’s efforts were still not enough to get the White Sox into the postseason, and he is looking to get there for the first time this season with the Red Sox.
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Arguably the most anticipated pitching match up for White Sox fans all year took place on Tuesday night as Sale would battle current Sox staff leader Jose Quintana.
Sale (5-2 2.34 ERA) and Quintana (2-6 4.82 ERA) did not deliver the elite pitching everyone was waiting for, but instead, turned into an offensive barrage for both teams on Tuesday night.
After tossing a scoreless first frame, Quintana’s struggles in his recent starts came back to haunt him as his execution and command of his pitches escaped him once again. Between the second and third inning, the Red Sox scored seven runs, all of them with two outs.
Quintana could not close out when it mattered most, and allowed Red Sox hitters to pound him around the diamond all night long. A combined three home runs, two from utility infielder Deven Marrero, and a solo shot from Mookie Betts put the nail in the coffin for Quintana’s night. A season low 2.2 innings, to go along with 10 hits and seven earned runs, pushed Quintana’s season ERA to a career worst 5.60 as his trade value continued to plummet.
On the other side of the ball, it did not prove to be as daunting a task as most thought it would be to score runs off Sale. Already down 4-0 in the second inning, the White Sox did their best to battle back as they pushed three of their own runs across with two outs. A Leury Garcia RBI single and a two run single from Jose Abreu brought the Sox right back into the game. Even after being down four runs again as the Red Sox took a 7-3 lead after the third inning, the 2017 White Sox mantra continued as a team that would not go down easily. An RBI single from Tim Anderson followed by a two-run bomb from Todd Frazier pulled the Sox within one run once again in the fourth inning.
As the White Sox bullpen came in, despite having to toss 6.1 innings to cover for Quintana’s struggles, they were not able to stop the Red Sox red hot bats. Michael Ynoa, Dan Jennings, and Juan Minaya, all gave up two earned runs which would ultimately be the deciding factor in the White Sox loss.
Quintana picked up the loss, his seventh of the season as he is still trying to overcome his early season struggles. Although he did get six runs of support from his offense, a rare thing for Quintana as he receives just 3.55 runs per start, was still not enough to help the struggling left hander. The Sox would receive multi-hit efforts from Garcia, Anderson, Kevan Smith, Melky Cabrera, and Avisail Garcia.
The battle of the “Sox” will be decided on Wednesday night as Boston’s Drew Pomeranz (4-3 4.70 ERA) will battle Chicago’s Mike Pelfrey (2-4 4.41 ERA). The Red Sox will attempt to take the series and try to gain a game on the Yankees in the AL East standings. On the other hand, the White Sox will do all they can to avoid a series loss and stay in third place in the AL Central. The game can be seen on CSN or heard on WLS 890 at 7:10 CT.