Chris Sale is thrilled the White Sox don’t have to face the Twins the rest of the season.
The Sox ace turned in another rough start against Minnesota on Sunday, only going three innings and giving up six earned runs in a 7-0 loss.
Against the Twins this year, Sale has a 7.36 ERA over 33 innings compared to a 2.73 ERA against everyone else over 154.2 innings.
“They just have my number,” Sale said. “Sometimes it’s not what you want to do but you just get beat some times. I haven’t done too much research on if they do or don’t, but it’s a good team over there. They are in the position they are in for a reason.
The troubling theme of falling behind early for the White Sox continued on Sunday. After a Miguel Sano RBI single in the first, Torii Hunter launched a three-run home run off Sale just a few batters later to make it 4-0 Minnesota in a hurry.
“It seems like he’s getting younger,” Sale said of Hunter. “That’s why he is who he is. You know, it’s tough. He’s a tough at-bat. He’s still a great outfielder. He’s not an easy out by any means. You just have to bear down there and I can’t leave a fastball there for him.”
Hunter then hit an RBI single in the third inning off Sale, and Eddie Rosario followed up with another RBI single of his own to extend the Twins’ lead to 6-0.
“I don’t know if the approach is (different),” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of the Twins. “Everybody is trying to swing early and stay away from the slider and change up. They just seem to be on it more than everything else.”
The Sox aren’t sure if tipping is the issue when Sale faces the Twins but the left-hander and his catcher, Tyler Flowers, are looking into it.
“That's what we're trying to look at,” Flowers said. “It kind of feels that way, but I don't know. If it is, then it's our job to figure it out and fix it.”
Sale did record two strikeouts, giving him 250 on the season. It’s the most for a White Sox pitcher in a season in 103 years (Ed Walsh was the last).
Frankie Montas relieved Sale after his three innings of work and kept the damage at a minimum. In his third major league outing, Montas went three innings, striking out five batters and only surrendering an RBI single to Joe Mauer in the sixth inning. The rookie right-hander pitched himself out of a jam in the sixth, striking out Sano and Trevor Plouffe to end a bases-loaded threat.
[NBC SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]
Kyle Gibson continued his dominance over the White Sox. The right-hander went 7 2/3 scoreless innings, scattering five hits and striking out five. Coming into today’s game Gibson was 3-0 against the South Siders with a 2.60 ERA in five career starts.
“He had super sink going, I know that,” Flowers said of Gibson. “He seemed to have pretty good command of his changeup-split thing. He was doing a good job working that off his sinker. He threw enough breaking balls in there for strikes.”
Micah Johnson’s double in the sixth inning was the only extra base hit of the day for the Sox.
The reality is starting to set in for the White Sox and their slim-to-none playoff hopes for 2015. Sale and the Sox aren’t mailing in the rest of the season but now they have to start playing for each other as they finish a disappointing 2015 season.
“You come to the park every day to win,” Sale said. “We are competitors. It doesn’t matter if we are down 10 runs, up 10 runs, in or out of it. We still have a job to do and that’s come in and compete. It’s all we can do at this point. We are just playing for pride. Just suck it up and play as hard as you can.”