By Connor McKnight-
CHICAGO (CBS) — Spring has not been kind to Chris Sale.
Perhaps that’s not fair. Maybe the weather, workouts, meals, golf and time with his teammates have all been kind; but the starts have not.
In his two Cactus League starts, totaling 7.1 innings, he’s given up 10 hits, eight earned runs, two homers and a walk. If you’re looking for a silver lining, it is there… technically. He’s struck out six batters in those two starts as well.
Still that doesn’t cheer him up much. He’s frustrated.
“What, I’ve thrown eight innings? Given up eight runs? That’s unacceptable on every level, I don’t care who you are,” Sale said. “By no means am I going to go home and kick myself in the rear, but I’m disappointed with what happened today. At the same time there are positives on what happened with this. I had some good innings, some good hitters, but at the end of the day this is not something I go home and pat myself on the back for.’’
Frankly, Sale looked like he was going to head home and kick himself in the rear. “Despondent,” is going to far in describing his mood afterwards. “Visibly frustrated,” sums it up better.
It’s not one pitch that’s messing with Sale’s efforts either. He threw all three pitches against the Angels Wednesday and had good and bad moments with all of them. Location was the problem.
“I don’t think it’s a certain pitch,” Sale said. “I’ve said it time and time again, it’s just location. I felt like I had good command of my fastball, the changeup and slider were there, it’s just at times I didn’t put the ball in the right spot.’’
Three runs against Sale today came when Albert Pujols took him deep to left field. Manager Robin Ventura said those kind of at bats are always tests.
“[Pujols] is pretty good,” Ventura said. “I think you hopefully learn something. I think that’s what happens when you go inside against guys like him. He’s one of the best hitters to ever play the game. It’s good for him to go out and see what he’s got against him. Make adjustments the next time you are out there to do something.”
Most importantly though, Sale’s health doesn’t seem to be an issue. The process of stretching him out hasn’t seemed to bother him at all.
“It’s been awesome, other than the days I pitch, obviously,” Sale joked. “But every day leading up to it has been great. Knowing what you’re supposed to be doing on every single day, having fun with it to – getting running in, throwing in, everything has been great so far except for the [pitching day].’’
That’s big. If the White Sox have any hope of contending for anything, Sale has to be a big factor in the rotation for a long haul.
Jesse Crain was supposed to work an inning or so today but was called off because of a strain.
Jesse was supposed to actually come in but we shut him down in the bullpen,” Ventura said. “He wasn’t feeling right. There was something on one of the sides. It’s just precautionary. Just making sure he’s not trying to push it down here.”