ST. LOUIS — By skipping Carlos Rodon’s turn in the rotation, the White Sox may also be able to give Chris Sale an extra day of rest.
Manager Robin Ventura said Wednesday he and pitching coach Don Cooper were considering bumping Sale’s next start to Monday against Toronto and starting Rodon Sunday against Baltimore, affording Sale five days of rest between starts. Sale is healthy and didn’t come to Ventura and Cooper requesting the extra day, but the White Sox feel it could be beneficial to the left-hander who tied Pedro Martinez’s major league record for most consecutive starts with 10 or more strikeouts Tuesday night.
“This is just Coop and I kicking it around to take care of him and make sure he’s fresh and keep him going the same way,” Ventura said. “We’ve spent enough time looking at Carlos, inserting him and moving him and everything else and you want to do that with Chris. He deserves it.”
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Sale, who has a 2.87 ERA and a major league-leading 141 strikeouts, has averaged 116 pitches and a little under 7 2/3 innings over his last eight starts. Thanks to an off day Monday, Sale went five days between starts leading into his 12-strikeout masterpiece against St. Louis Tuesday night.
Ventura likes having the option — thanks to off days and the plan to periodically rest Rodon — of giving Sale that extra day, if possible.
“When we’ve done it for him, it sounds crazy but he’s always bounced back and pitched maybe a little better,” Ventura said. “That probably sounds odd but he has looked stronger and fresher when he gets an extra day.”
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What isn’t part of the decision is Sale’s impending All-Star berth, and he’s made a strong case to start the game in Cincinnati July 14. His schedule isn’t ideal, though, no matter when he starts — if he goes Sunday or Monday, his final start before the All-Star break would be July 10 or 11 against the Cubs.
Ventura acknowledged Sale deserves to pitch in the All-Star Game, but lining him up to have a better chance of appearing at Great American Ballpark isn’t the team’s focus.
“For the importance of the game they probably want the best guys to pitch and he’s one of them,” Ventura said. “But our decisions are based on us and where we’re at. Because Carlos has had extended time off you can slip him Sunday or Monday.”