(CBS) It only took one start for White Sox ace Chris Sale to show off his Cy Young form, as he allowed just one run on five hits while striking out eight in six innings in his season debut Sunday, a win over the Twins.
Just don’t talk to Chicago pitching coach Don Cooper about those lofty award expectations.READ MORE: Man Shot While Standing Outside In Old Norwood Park
“One thing I dislike is when people are talking about Cy Young, Cy Young, Cy Young,” Cooper said in an interview on the Mully and Hanley Show on Thursday morning. “I’m not into the personal stuff. How about help lead us to a division (title)? Ask him to do that whether than this Cy Young stuff. Because I’m telling you, it’s the farthest thing from his mind. He wants to win. He wants to get in the playoffs.”
The playoff hopes of the White Sox largely rest in the hands of Sale, Jeff Samardzija and Jose Quintana, three players who have never been to the postseason (Samardzija was a member of the Athletics last season when they lost in the AL wild-card game, but he didn’t pitch) and are well aware of that fact.
“Their next thing to put on their resume is that they’re playoff guys,” Cooper said. “They’re guys that have played and performed and performed well in the playoffs. That’s our goal — not to win a Cy Young. If that comes along with winning a division, that’s a blessing.”READ MORE: Miss And Mrs. America Nation Pageant Highlights Diverse Cultures; CBS 2's Suzanne Le Mignot Honored As Multicultural Woman of the Year
Cooper went so far as to Sale is the best pitcher he’s ever coached. Cooper’s been on the bench since 1988 for the White Sox.
“We were talking, and I said, ‘You know, I got to tell you something,'” Cooper said. “‘You’re the best pitcher I’ve ever been lucky enough to have, and I appreciate you. I’m not talking about … gameday. Certainly, I appreciate you in there.’ Here’s the things I appreciate most from him. One, he wants to be good, you know. He wants to be one of the top guys.
“I appreciated him for that, his desire and hunger to be good.
“As a pitching coach, he’s a dream.MORE NEWS: Chicago Attorney Cannon Lambert Sr. Sworn In As New President Of Cook County Bar Association
“Our biggest job, my biggest job, is to keep this guy healthy because if he’s healthy, he’s got a chance to go out there and do some special things, which we’ve all seen since he arrived here in Chicago.”