White Sox

Breaking down Sale's MLB starting debut

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Breaking down Sale's MLB starting debut

Chris Sale's line today: 6 23 innings pitched, one run, three hits, two walks, five strikeouts, nine groundouts, three flyouts, 100 pitches.

Doesn't sound like someone who hasn't started a game in the majors, right?

The thing that pops out is how many ground balls Sale got. A big question coming into this year was about his ability to command the strike zone with dialed-back stuff, and Sale answered that question positively on Monday. He kept the ball low in the zone with a fastball that averaged about 92 miles per hour -- around four miles per hour slower than his average velocity as a reliever.

The key was that Sale didn't try to strike everybody out. He could get away with that as a reliever and often succeeded doing so, but through 100 pitches, he had to be more efficient. And he was. That's extremely encouraging.

Sale's fastball was his best offering on Monday, but his slider and changeup were good as well. He only threw 12 changes -- right in line with his 11.7 percent usage of that pitch as a reliever last year.

It's just one start, but that's an early answer to another Sale question: He's not throwing his changeup more as a starter than as a reliever. And he probably doesn't have to -- 12 pitches in 100 is about right for a third pitch.

Overall, here's how Sale's offerings broke down (via Brooks Baseball): 57 fastballs, 31 sliders, 12 changeups. His percentages in his two years of relieving: 55 percent fastballs, 35 percent sliders, 10 percent changeups. So little has changed in his pitch selection, at least through one start.

There's not much Sale could've done better in his first start. Now he's just gotta do it 30 more times this year.

White Sox Talk Podcast: What it would take for the White Sox to sign Manny Machado

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: What it would take for the White Sox to sign Manny Machado

It might be a long shot for the White Sox to sign free agent Manny Machado, but here on the White Sox Talk Podcast, we like dark horses. Chuck Garfien, Ryan McGuffey and Vinnie Duber discuss what it would take to bring Machado to the South Side. Plus, is he "the" guy the White Sox are targeting this offseason? Will the Rockies listen to trade offers for Nolan Arenado a year before he reaches free agency? Plus, Chuck talks about a cost-controlled, All-Star on a rebuilding team that could be an answer at third base.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

On this day in 2005: White Sox pitchers put the CG in Chicago

On this day in 2005: White Sox pitchers put the CG in Chicago

Mark Buehrle. Jon Garland. Freddy García. José Contreras.

The 2005 White Sox had four consecutive complete games to finish off the 2005 ALCS — Contreras took his turn in Game 5 against the Angels 13 years ago Tuesday. How special was that run of starting pitching to finish that series? Consider the following six statements:

— No team has had more than two complete games in a single postseason, let alone a postseason series, since.

— There has been a grand total of four complete games in 188 postseason games (through Monday) since the beginning of 2016.

— Those 2005 White Sox remain the only team with four complete games in a single LCS (which went to a best-of-seven format in 1985).

— They are the only team since the 1968 Tigers (in the World Series) with at least four complete games in any postseason series.

— They are the only team since the 1956 Yankees (in the World Series) with at least four consecutive complete games in a series. (The Yankees had five in a row: Games 3 through 7.)

— They are the only team since the 1928 Yankees (in the World Series) with at least four consecutive complete-game wins in a series (Games 1 through 4).

Take a moment to look back and appreciate what Don Cooper’s troops were able to accomplish in that series. The way the game is played nowadays, we will never see it again.