White Sox

White Sox ace Chris Sale continues his staggering run of success

chrissalewhitesoxnooverlay.png

White Sox ace Chris Sale continues his staggering run of success

Chris Sale’s raw numbers over his last four starts are astounding, starting with a 1.17 ERA over 30 2/3 innings with 49 strikeouts against four walks. For comparison, former White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle — certainly not a swing-and-miss pitcher — has 17 fewer strikeouts over 11 starts covering 72 1/3 innings with Toronto this season.

Opposing hitters have a .157 batting average and .455 OPS against Sale in those four starts, in which the White Sox are 3-1. Any concerns over Sale’s slow start have dissipated into an ocean of swings and misses.

Sale’s had a few dominant four-start stretches over his career — like last year’s 31 2/3 IP, 3 ER, 38 K, 3 BB stretch from July 4-26 — but he’s previously racked up double digit strikeouts in consecutive starts only twice in his career. Sale’s strikeout totals in his last four games: 10, 12, 13, 14.

[MORE WHITE SOX: Chris Sale strikes out 14 as White Sox top Astros]

Whether it’s fair or not, whenever the lanky left-hander piles up strikeouts like this it’s going to elicit comparisons to Randy Johnson — the flamethrowing, svelte lefty who won five Cy Youngs and will enter the Hall of Fame this summer.

“What he’s throwing up there numbers-wise is impressive and he’s right up there with all those guys,” manager Robin Ventura said. “You’re really seeing, and in the way he’s finishing it. He’s right up there with Johnson -- we do that because he’s left-handed but he’s right up there with any of those guys.”

What’s keyed Sale’s dominant stretch has been an ability to generate plenty of swings and misses with both his offspeed pitches.

[MORE WHITE SOX: Carson Fulmer hopes to follow Chris Sale's path]

When opposing hitters swing at Sale’s changeup over his last four starts, they’re whiffing at one in every two of them. His slider has been nearly as good: His whiff/swing percentage is 46.5 percent, according to Brooks Baseball.

White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers, though, said there’s a more subtle reason to the gaudy swing-and-miss rates beyond a pair of offspeed pitches working to perfection.

“I’d say (Monday), we only threw two or three pitches that we missed that were over the plate,” Flowers said. “Other than that, when he misses he’s missing in good spots — in off, away off, down, even a couple of them over the middle yesterday he got up in the zone. That’s a big part of it. … Instead of just throwing in a general area, he’s trying to hit that exact spot or miss in, or hit that exact spot and miss away.”

As long as Sale continues to scythe his way through opposing lineups with his blazing fastball, wipeout slider and excellent changeup he’ll draw those comparisons to The Big Unit. Ventura remembers what it was like to face Johnson — against whom he had 15 strikeouts and only two extra-base hits in 45 plate appearances — and said getting on base against him often came down to guessing right.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Here in 2015, that’s something Flowers and Sale have worked on lately, trying to get the 26-year-old to be more unpredictable with his pitches to make that guessing game even more difficult.

“It's not easy,” Ventura said. “… You pick something and hopefully it's right and if it's not you're not going to have a very good chance to hit it.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: Memories of Old Comiskey Park

1018_comiskey_park.jpg
AP

White Sox Talk Podcast: Memories of Old Comiskey Park

For many White Sox fans, Comiskey Park was their introduction to White Sox baseball when they were young. Chuck Garfien, Ryan McGuffey, and Chris Kamka share their memories of the old ballpark. Among them: Chuck talks about seeing Al Cowens charge Ed Farmer on the mound in 1980 creating a bench clearing brawl, Ryan tells the story about catching a Mike Greenwell foul ball, Chuck talks about being there for the 1983 All-Star Game, they discuss the final game ever played there and read favorite memories sent in by White Sox fans.

You can listen to the whole thing right here, or in the embedded player below.

8:26 - Chuck talks about seeing Al Cowens charge Ed Farmer on the mound in 1980 creating a bench clearing brawl.

10:11 - Ryan tells the story about catching a Mike Greenwell foul ball.

12:49 - Chuck talks about being there for the 1983 All-Star Game

15:11 - The guys talk about the final game ever played there.

16:44 - The guys read favorite memories sent in by White Sox fans.

Subscribe:

'White Sox to the Letter'

markbuehrle.jpg
AP

'White Sox to the Letter'

Inspired by Ogden Nash’s 1949 poem “A Lineup for Yesterday”

 

A is for A.J.

Once punched in the face

If strike three ain’t caught

He’ll steal first base

 

B is for Baines

Who’s known to speak gently

When asked if he’ll homer

He said, “Evidently!”

 

C for Comiskey

The old baseball yard

When it was torn down

I took it quite hard

 

D is for Donkey

I mean Adam Dunn

He’d strike out or walk

Or hit a home run

 

E is for Eloy

He isn’t here yet

Though an All-Star career

Is still a good bet

 

F is for Fisk

The incomparable Pudge

From his perch behind home

Not an inch he would budge

 

G is for Gold

G is for Glove

Aparicio is

Who I’m thinking of

 

H is for Hawk

Unforgettable voice

Stretch! Dadgummit!

And don’t stop now boys!

 

I for Iguchi

Second base man

Won World Series

Returned to Japan

 

J is for Jackson

The legend still grows

A home run or touchdown

Only Bo knows

 

K is for Kopech

Speed, he has plenty

He’ll pile up strikeouts

In two thousand twenty

 

L is for Luke

Old Aches and Pains

Hit .388

That record remains

 

M is for Mark

As in Mister Buehrle

When he takes the mound

The game will end early

 

N is for no-no

Wilson Alvarez, Humber

Two by Mark Buehrle

Too many to number

 

O for Orestes

Miñoso’s real name

Not in the Hall

And that’s a real shame

 

P is for Paulie

He gave it his all

At the championship rally

Gave Jerry the ball

 

Q for Quintana

Kept coming up short

Only because

Of no run support

 

R is for Richie

But please call him Dick

A dangerous man

When he’s swinging the stick

 

S is for shoes

Which were not worn by Joe

In 1919

Please say it ain’t so

 

T is for Thomas

Amazing career

He went to the Hall

And brewed Big Hurt Beer

 

U for Uribe

He played everywhere

When the ball left his bat

Hands waved in the air

 

V is for Veeck

He knew how to sell

Fireworks, promotions

And Eddie Gaedel

 

W is for William

Or Bill; He was Beltin’

So hot was the corner

Third baseman was Melton

 

X is for Fox

At least the last letter

Among second basemen

Nobody was better

 

Y is for Yolmer

He has sneaky power

The master of giving

A Gatorade shower

 

Z is for Zisk

And others I missed

Unable to fit

In my White Sox list