DETROIT -- The overwhelming run support afforded Chris Sale the rare chance to shift into coast mode.
By virtue of an offensive onslaught from his teammates, the White Sox pitcher swapped strategies midway through Saturday’s 12-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers. After throwing 56 pitches in three stressful innings against the Tigers’ loaded lineup, Sale was afforded a rarity, going into conservation mode.
“At that point you’re trying to eat as many innings as you can,” Sale said. “You can go out and give up a few more runs and it’s really not going to hurt. The main thing from then on out is saving the bullpen.”
Many of Sale’s 56 early pitches came against Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez in showdowns that are never for the faint of heart. He kept one of baseball’s better offenses in check, but also had to work hard to do so.
[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]
After the White Sox poured it on in the third and fourth innings, Sale, who threw fastballs between 96-98 mph at the start, began to coast. His fastball range sat between 88-94 mph for much of the rest of the game.
Sale yielded a solo homer to J.D. Martinez to start the fourth inning but retired the final nine hitters he faced. The left-hander allowed two earned runs and four hits with a walk in six innings while striking out six. He only needed 45 pitches over his final three innings.
“You have to bear down a little bit,” Sale said of the first three innings. “That trio, now there is four of them from (Ian) Kinsler to (Yoenis) Cespedes and even JD Martinez. Those guys are tough. So you want to do what you can, but not let it get out of control because they can get it out of control in a hurry.”
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:
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.