White Sox

Chris Sale cruises as White Sox top Blue Jays

Chris Sale cruises as White Sox top Blue Jays

Justin Timberlake, Drake and Desiigner were among the musical choices on Sunday. But over the last week, the White Sox have been able to blast plenty of celebratory songs in their clubhouse with regularity, representing an audible change from the postgame silence that largely accompanied a stretch of 26 losses in 36 games that looks to be in the rearview mirror. 

Chris Sale delivered eight strong innings to pace the White Sox to a 5-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays Sunday afternoon in front of 28,345 at U.S. Cellular Field. The White Sox, who took three of four from the Boston Red Sox last week at Fenway Park, last won back-to-back series from April 22-27 against the Texas Rangers and Blue Jays. 

“You look at the teams we went up against too, Boston and Toronto, those are two of the best in the league,” Sale said, referring to both of the American League’s wild card leaders. “... This is what we needed. Stuff like this is what makes you turn the corner. 

“We’ve been listening to some music lately and it’s been fun.”

Sale scattered five hits and two walks and was the recipient of some solid defense behind him. Right fielder Adam Eaton threw out Josh Donaldson at second base in the first inning when the reigning American League MVP tried to stretch a line drive off the wall into a double, and a sterling double play turned by third baseman Tyler Saladino and second baseman Brett Lawrie erased a Donaldson single in the seventh. 

Troy Tulowitzki and Junior Lake both blasted solo home runs in the top of the eighth, but that was the only damage Toronto was able to inflict against Sale. 

The 27-year-old only sprinkled six strikeouts throughout the afternoon as he consistently pounded the strike zone. His efficiency was welcome news for a relief corps that’s had to cover plenty of stressful outs and innings over the last few weeks. 

Only David Robertson — who earned his 20th save — had to jog in from the left field bullpen on Sunday. 

“The way the bullpen was, (Sale) was fantastic today,” manager Robin Ventura said. 

“It’s nice, it’s refreshing, it’s needed,” reliever Zach Duke said. “What (Sale) did today is huge for all of us. To have a guy like that helps everybody.”

Sale only threw 99 pitches, but the home runs he allowed in the eighth inning — which were followed by a walk to Darwin Barney — led Ventura to pull his starter three outs shy of a complete game. 

“He had really good command today with all of his pitches working in and out,” catcher Alex Avila said. “He changed speeds really well with his fastball today along with the great command. He was throwing strikes, a lot of strikes, today, and he did a great job.”

Sale was supported by some opportunistic baserunning from Eaton and Saladino, a scorching Melky Cabrera (who went 3-4 with an RBI) and solo home runs off the bats of Tim Anderson and J.B. Shuck. 

The White Sox improved to 13-3 in games started by Sale, who also became baseball’s first 13-game winner on Sunday. Even during a lengthy nadir from mid-May through the end of last weekend’s sweep in Cleveland, Sale won five games — half the team’s total from May 10 through June 19. 

But the White Sox feel like their arrow is pointing up after winning five of their last seven games against Boston and Toronto. Sale made sure on Sunday this newfound era of good feelings wasn’t going to meet a premature end. 

“It’s just a sign we’re starting to get back on the right track,” Shuck said. “We’re playing the baseball we want to play.”

Zack Burdi is pitching off a mound again

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USA TODAY

Zack Burdi is pitching off a mound again

Zack Burdi was thought of as a college pitcher who could make the major leagues quickly after he was drafted in 2016.

The White Sox drafted him 26th overall that year and it appeared his quick rise through the minors was going to come true. Burdi reached Triple-A Charlotte by the end of 2016 and had a 2.25 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 16 innings with the Knights.

However, he had Tommy John surgery in July and hasn't pitched in more than 11 months. The 23-year-old from Downers Grove is nearing his return and had video proof.

That's Burdi throwing off a mound, which means a rehab stint might not be far behind. Burdi may not getting into the full swing of things before the minor league season ends in early September, but this is a good sign for him being ready to go for spring training in 2019.

Before going on the disabled list, Burdi had a 4.05 ERA with 51 strikeouts and 17 walks in 33 1/3 innings with the Knights in 2017.

Which NL team is the biggest threat to the Cubs, José Abreu (still) consistently playing well

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USA TODAY

Which NL team is the biggest threat to the Cubs, José Abreu (still) consistently playing well

Ozzie Guillen and Doug Glanville join Leila Rahimi to discuss what National League team is the biggest threat for the Cubs, possible minor league moves for the White Sox and if Addison Russell should be 'always ready' versus expecting an off day.

Plus, we go pregaming with Siera Santos.

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