Tag Archives: Chris Sale

A Sale of Two Cities

The question was on the tip of everyone’s tongue and the forefront of everyone’s minds on Tuesday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field; What’s it going to be like facing your former teammate Chris Sale?

The mark that Sale left on the White Sox clubhouse he used to call home was unmistakable as teammates remembered Sale fondly, not just as a teammate and a competitor but as a friend.

“He was just a great guy. He was just a guy who if you ever needed anything he was there for you,” Todd Frazier said before Tuesday’s matchup. “We became real close over a six, eight month span, and I still talk to him today. He’s a friend you can talk to.”

Of course, it wouldn’t be Sale’s return trip to his old stomping grounds without a good jersey cutting remark. “I think that’d be a great idea,” Frazier replied when asked if he thought it would be good homage to wear the throwback jersey style Sale famously cut up before a start last July. “I don’t know if we can wear the cut-up ones, but maybe we can put some tape around some of the shirts like Edward Scissorhands out there or something. That’d be cool. I think he’d probably chuckle at that too, why not?”

But, all joking aside, at the end of the day the goal for the White Sox was to go out and face the American League’s best lefty on the mound—whether he be a friend or a former teammate was left in the dugout as the team took the field, thirsty for a win.

“He was my teammate for two years and I like him. Now it’s just we are competing against each other,” Jose Abreu said through an interpreter Tuesday afternoon on facing Sale. “He’s with the Red Sox and we are now here and have to face him. I know that he is going to try to do his best and we are also going to try to do our best.”

Unfortunately for the White Sox, things didn’t go their way as the evening which promised a pitcher’s duel and instead delivered a slug fest ended with the Boston taking the match 13-7.

“Who would have thought that with the two starters on the mound tonight that we’d have nearly 150 pitches thrown between them through three innings,” Boston manager John Farrell said after Tuesday’s game.

“I stunk tonight. I didn’t do a whole lot to help us win,” Sale told the media post game. Sale allowed 10 hits and five earned runs in just five innings pitched, marking Sale’s shortest outing of the season and shortest outing since his last start in a White Sox uniform on October 2nd of 2016.

“I don’t think I was very accurate either. I don’t think I was throwing to specific spots, just throwing to general areas, too.” Sale still managed to strike out nine White Sox batters on the evening despite the erratic outing.

So how did it feel for Sale to be back on the mound he called home for seven season? “Different. But the same. I’ve thrown off that mound however many times it was. A little different coming from the first-base side,” Sale said, clearly fueled by bouts of nostalgia as he answered questions with a heartfelt tone in his voice.

“This is where I called home for a long time. A little piece of my heart will always be here for sure. I gave these guys everything I had while I was here, and I’m appreciative they do the same in return.”

As for Quintana, there’s still no real concern. “He’s passing through a very tough moment on the mound, he’s one of the best pitchers in the league and we have plenty of confidence in him,” Melky Cabrera said about Quintana’s struggled through an interpreter after Tuesday’s game.

“He’s just a little up in the zone,” Kevan Smith said. “I’ve told him, when he’s successful he lives in that zone knee to shins, we’re just like six inches above that, and you could tell when he really started thinking about it we started losing control and he was almost too far down,” Smith continued about Quintana’s location Tuesday night.

Quintana’s struggles have cascaded recently, leading him to a 5.60 ERA in his 11 starts this season. But the White Sox have seen what Quintana is capable of, it’s just a matter of getting him out of his own head and helping him regain confidence. “It’s just one of those things where you have to get confidence back,” Smith said. “He has the stuff, obviously we’ve all seen it. He’s just got to go out there, work hard and get back to the Q we all know.”

The White Sox will finish their series with Boston on Wednesday evening at Guaranteed Rate Field, and as for Sale Day, was the lanky hurler glad his return to Chicago is over? “No. It was nothing like that. I was actually looking forward to tonight. Pitching against my buddies, my old team.” Sale said. “Obviously the end result wasn’t what we had expected. By no means am I glad that this is over. I wish I enjoyed it more, but it was something I was looking forward to.”

Until next time, Boston.

Sox Fest ’17 Brings Promise

The landscape has changed quite a bit for the White Sox since the final out of 2016 was recorded. We need not relive the ups and downs of the 2016 season but, clearly, the 2017 White Sox are set out on a much different path than just a year ago. With a new manager in Rick Renteria and a new direction after the trades of Chris Sale and Adam Eaton, the White Sox have gotten younger, deeper and, hopefully, better in the long run.

For the media, Sox Fest starts with a press conference held by GM Rick Hahn. After the dozens of questions about the future of starter Jose Quintana, third baseman Todd Frazier, left fielder Melky Cabrera, closer David Robertson and anyone else not named Tim Anderson or Carlos Rodon, we’ll get to the business of getting to know the new comers.

Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito or Michael Kopech will be wanted men at Sox Fest 2017–and for good reason. Giolito and Moncada (along with Reynaldo Lopez) are likely to make their White Sox debut at some point in the 2017 season. Moncada could even break camp as the starting second baseman.

There’s a different flavor about the White Sox rebuild. It’s may not have to be the Astros-type where hope is invisible for years. It may not be the Cubs-type where players acquired were, for the most part, years away from MLB-ready. It could be that the track the White Sox are on is very much their own.

Still, the first questions asked to Hahn at the press conference–the ones about how much further the rebuild will go–will likely establish a tone for the rest of the weekend. There will be anxiety about whether prospects become players. There will be sadness in the departure of Sale. The plan, though, is a smarter and deeper system than the organization has had in some time. There is strength in numbers and in acquiring the the talent they have this winter, Sox fans can diversify their hope as they wait for a winner on the Southside.

Get more information about SoxFest 2017 here.

Chris Sale Cuts Up Jerseys

The Latest with Chris Sale

The White Sox have suspended their Ace, Chris Sale following a “non-physical, clubhouse incident.” Sale is eligible to return to the club for Thursday’s game against the Cubs. The team hasn’t announced whether Sale will make that start and, at this point at least, it seems a 50-50 proposition.

Robin Ventura will not return in 2017

After the White Sox lost 6-3 to the Twins, ending the 2016 season, Robin Ventura addressed the media for the last time as the manager of the club.

“It’s the right time,” Ventura said. “It’s more of a personal decision than anything. I love being here. The organization means a lot to me. You can go as hard as you can and really the only thing you know is how you conduct yourself, how you conduct your business and how you treat people. I’m good with that.”

Ventura’s managerial career was, unfortunately, short on wins. With a career record of 375-435, Ventura and the Sox turned in four consecutive losing seasons. With Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Adam Eaton and Jose Abreu as a core for most, if not all of that time, talent has been present but wins were wanting.

“It’s not like they’re going to be putting a statue [of me] out on the concourse,” Ventura admitted. “You wish you would have just won more but, absolutely, [I’d] do it again.

At 23-10, the 2016 White Sox started as hot as any team in baseball. Since that start, the club played to a 55-74 record and in fourth place in the AL Central.

“I think what’s hardest is we started off so well,” Ventura said. “So you had the optimism that you were going to keep that rolling and then it didn’t continue. That’s the hardest stuff.”

Multiple reports have said that bench coach Rick Renteria will step in as manager but Ventura wouldn’t comment on that. Renteria went 73-89 in his only season as the manager of the Cubs in 2014. He was fired when Joe Maddon left the manager’s job of the Tampa Bay Rays.

White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn will address the media Monday morning. Be sure to check back with WLS AM 890 for the latest news.

White Sox at the Deadline

The trade deadline has come and gone and Chris Sale and Jose Quintana remain White Sox. As the Sox’ endured a 28-44 slide since May 9th, I heard from plenty of fans calling into the Post Game Show advocating moving one or both of those top-tier arms. It seems pretty clear, given the vast quantity of reports, that overtures were made for each. Any team seeking to add one of the White Sox’ gems would have to pay dearly. Sale and Quintana, had they been dealt, would have easily been the best pitcher to have moved at the deadline. It wouldn’t have been close.

Instead, they remain. White Sox GM Rick Hahn told reporters that nothing every came close enough to have to take to owner Jerry Reinsdorf for approval.

I have a guess as to what that means. I’d guess that Hahn would have only flipped Sale/Quintana in packages that included current major leaguers. The White Sox aren’t into the complete tear down. Not the way the Astros did it. Not the way the Cubs did it. Definitely not whatever the Braves are doing.

“Rebuild on the fly” is a slightly more apt description in that it covers the desire to compete at all times. If the Rangers wanted Sale, I’d be the White Sox needed Nomar Mazara to make that happen. If the Red Sox asked about either (or both) the White Sox likely were asking that Mookie Betts make his way to the Southside.

Hahn would have been right to want those players. The Rangers and Red Sox would have been right to pass—for now.

I see the situation as an “If, then” statement. If the White Sox are to deal one or both of Sale and or Quintana, then it will happen in the winter when Mazara’s and Betts’ are more likely to move.

That said, I’m curious as to why a few other players are still on the squad.

In his age 31 season, Melky Cabrera has been the White Sox most consistent and effective offensive threat. Hands down. He’s owed the remainder of his $14 million dollar salary this year and in 2017 he’s owed $15 million. Compare that to Carlos Beltran who, at have 39, is having a rebirth. Beltran was flipped from the Yankees to the Rangers for three prospects. One of whom, Dillon Tate, is a former fourth-overall pick. Tate has lost some considerable shine in the past season but at 22, has plenty of room to bounce back.

Beltran, owed the rest of his $15 million this season and $15 for 2017, compares favorable to Cabrera. They’re both switch hitters. They’ve both played on big stages. They’re both producing. Take a look:

Cabrera v LHP – .351/..377/.554

Cabrera v RHP – .302/.355/.454

Beltran v LHP – .351/.405/.640

Beltran v. RHP – .282/.314/.502

Beltran gets an edge in the power category—no doubt about it. Still, Cabrera’s consistent on-base skills are superior and, unlike Beltran, Cabrera can play a corner outfield spot which makes him trade-worthy in two leagues.

The Yankees are 5.5 games out of the Wild Card. The White Sox are 7.5 games behind.

Also, there’s the eight year age difference. Cabrera would have brought back a solid return.

Instead, the White Sox have kept together a group that could be highly mobile during this offseason or at next year’s trade deadline. Todd Frazier, Brett Lawrie and Melky Cabrera reach free agency after the 2017 season. Everyone else is under contract or team control. While the Sox showed they’re capable of playing great baseball through the first six weeks of the season, it’s yet to be seen wether they’ve got another six weeks like that in them. Even if they do, will it be enough to change minds?

The Latest with Chris Sale

Chris Sale

The White Sox have suspended their Ace, Chris Sale following a “non-physical, clubhouse incident.” Sale is eligible to return to the club for Thursday’s game against the Cubs. The team hasn’t announced whether Sale will make that start and, at this point at least, it seems a 50-50 proposition.

Surrounded by cameras and microphones, GM Rick Hahn spoke about the incident with reporters Sunday afternoon before the White Sox finished off a suspended game against the Tigers and started the fourth game in the series. Hahn touched on a number of things and prefaced his answers by saying he respected the sanctity of the clubhouse and would not get into specifics of what was said, to whom it was said, or, even, what was done.

The reports are out and the evidence is fairly clear. Sale seems to have had an issue of some sort with the throwback jerseys the Sox had planned to wear for the game. The uniform in question isn’t the sharpest looking but, perhaps because of it’s ugly duckling charm, fans have come to like it and the franchise has embraced the collar–while leaving the shorts in the ’70s.

Hahn also referenced the timing of the incident. With the August 1st trade deadline fast approaching, takes of every temperature were served up on Twitter concerning the White Sox Ace. Although the incident itself may have been reckless and childish, that changes little–if anything–about Sale’s importance to the White Sox or his value on the trade market.

I’ve mentioned a few times on White Sox Weekly that I don’t think the White Sox will move Chris Sale. I still believe that to be true. Teams have existed with players like Albert Belle, Manny Ramirez, Jeff Kent and even Delmon Young. That’s not to put Sale in any one category with any one of those players. Just a list to illustrate the spectrum of humans teams have employed, stood by and parted with. Baseball, like life, is littered with imperfect characters.

Sale, before this incident and after, has been mentioned with respect by his teammates and by management. Even when he hasn’t agreed with them. In fact, less than two hours before news of Sale’s being scratched for Saturday’s start came out, WLS’ Rachel Brady interviewed Paul Konerko. Konerko, in wondering who was going to catch his first pitch prior to Monday’s White Sox-Cubs matchup, hoped that Sale would be the man behind the plate for him. Konerko cited Sale’s leadership, love of the franchise and heartfelt desire to win here in Chicago as reasons he hoped for the lefty as his battery-mate.

I can’t excuse Sale for his actions. The White Sox haven’t and they put bite to their bark with the suspension. I do believe that, at least for his teammates, this will be water under the bridge very quickly. It has not changed the team’s desire to have him headline Opening Days for years to come. It will not make opposing GM’s think twice about trying to offer a giant package of players and prospects to pry Sale from the South Side. If (and I believe it’s a big, big if) the Sox decide to trade Sale, it will be a Godfather-type offer, not an altered perception of Sale, that informs the decision.

White Sox Acquire James Shields

Nearly three weeks ago, when the White Sox returned home from a six-game, two-city road trip, GM Rick Hahn announced he was ready to deal. He wanted to add to a club that was 24-14 and on top of the AL Central. It had been a rough go of it out on the road. The Sox dropped both series to the Rangers and Yankees and the bullpen had started to leak.

Although the bullpen has stopped most of the bleeding, the wound cost the White Sox the lead in the Division. They now look up at the Royals and Indians. Reinforcements are on the way.

The White Sox have acquired James Shields from San Diego. Erick Johnson (6.94 ERA in two starts covering 11.2 innings in 2016) and Fernando Tatis Jr., a 17-year old shortstop prospect are said to be headed to San Diego.

Shields’ contract status is somewhat complicated. He’s owed $21 million this season and is due the same total in 2017 and 2018. There is a $16 million team option in 2019 with a buyout of $2 million. Further, Shields holds an opt out clause after this season.

Further, the financial burden on the Sox is going to be lessened significantly. They’ll pay $5 million toward this year’s salary and cover $10 million in each of the next two seasons, should he not exercise the opt out.

That’s the nitty gritty of the deal. The upshot, at least from my perspective, is that this is a responsible yet aggressive move by the White Sox. In adding Shields to the mix, they get a quality veteran who could, if he so choses, be a part of the next two years of White Sox contention. Chris Sale and Jose Quintana already form one of the top one-two combinations in baseball and adding Shields to the mix adds strength to strength. Shields regularly goes deep into games. Only once this season has he failed to complete six innings in a start. That benefits every aspect of a ball club.

Moreover, the White Sox got Shields without having to tap into any of their three top prospects (Tim Anderson, Carson Fulmer or Spencer Adams). That does one of two things. It leaves the powder dry for making another impact move later on in the season or keeps the immediate future of the club intact as Anderson could easily make his major league debut this season–and make a difference.

The only missing piece of the equation is who gets bumped out of the rotation. Mat Latos got off to a stellar start to the year but his 1.84 April ERA exploded in the second month of the season; his ERA in May is 6.41 Miguel Gonzalez has turned in six starts of fairly yeoman’s work and the crafty right hander has a track record of success at the big league level with the stuff he’s featuring.

Still, it’s an upgrade on a number of fronts and the Sox, despite an 11-17 May are still well within striking distance in a competitive AL Central. There could be more moves on the horizon but starting with James Shields is getting things off on the right foot.


Royals rally again late to defeat White Sox 5-4

Kansas City Royals' Brett Eibner celebrates after hitting the game-winning single during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox on Saturday, May 28, 2016, in Kansas City, Mo. The Royals won 8-7. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Kansas City Royals’ Brett Eibner celebrates after hitting the game-winning single during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox on Saturday, May 28, 2016, in Kansas City, Mo. The Royals won 8-7. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Cheslor Cuthbert drive in the go-ahead run with an infield hit in a three-run eighth inning, and the Kansas City Royals rallied for the third straight game in a 5-4 win over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.

Chicago wasted a 4-2 lead in the eighth after failing to protect a 5-2 seventh-inning advantage on Friday and a 7-1 ninth-inning margin on Saturday. White Sox relievers allowed 17 runs, 15 hits and eight walks over 6 1/3 innings in the three-game series, and Chicago has lost 14 of its last 18 games.

Seeking to become the major leagues’ first 10-game winner, Chris Sale left with a 4-2 lead after seven innings.


Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Tonight, Chris Sale

Chicago White Sox starter Chris Sale pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, April 15, 2016, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)
Chicago White Sox starter Chris Sale pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, April 15, 2016, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)


By Connor McKnight

White Sox Pre and Post Game Host

I worked very hard to avoid the use of a pun in the headline. While Chris Sale’s last name lends itself to all kinds of pun-tastic flash, he’s above that. I’m not. But while the numbers and dominance for Sale so far in 2016 are easy feats to recall, I’ve found the timing of Sale’s starts lately to be fortuitous at the least.

On May 1st, with the Sox having lost the first two games in Baltimore and just barely scraping out a win in the third game, Sale took the mound and threw perhaps his ‘worst’ game of the year. He went just 5.1 innings, the shortest start in his first nine and battled his command. He walked four, again, the most this year. The offense picked him up and plated five runs in the fifth off Ubaldo Jimenez. Robin Ventura saw his opportunity to lift his Ace and leave things to a red-hot bullpen.

Since then, Sale’s been doing all the work on his own and helping his guys along the way.

On May 13th in New York, the White Sox had just left Texas. They’d lost two of three. The bullpen had been battered by the Rangers offense, a 12-inning ballgame and a rain delay that lasted over an hour. The Sox had been hit. They’d been worked and they’d been tired out.

With an off-day scheduled for May 12th, the club finally had a chance to sleep. On May 13th, the bullpen just watched. Sale turned in second complete game of the year and yielded just one run, a homer to Chase Headley, en route to his third-best game of the year (a 77 via Bill James’ Game Score metric on BaseballReference.com).

Yes, the Sox lost the next two in New York. They were close games (2-1, 7-5) and were never out of things. Ventura was able to keep the bullpen healthy. Imagine if Sale hadn’t gone nine.

May 19th, found the White Sox in a rut. Losers of their last four games and in danger of suffering their first sweep of the season, Chris Sale took the hill against the Astros. Houston, at that point, was a team slowly finding their footing after an offseason of expectation was melted away by the 15-24 record they carried into US Cellular Field.

Sale played stopper that night. Nine innings, nine strikeouts, one run. His ninth win. When the night was over, the Sox had still lost six of their last eight; both wins with Sale’s name attached.

Tonight, with the Cleveland Indians just 2.5 games behind the Sox in the Central, Sale has a chance to be a spring board for the first time since mid-April. Sure, a win get’s Sale to an MLB-leading 10th. I’ll bet you he doesn’t care whether that win gets added to his name. In fact, I know he doesn’t. All he wants, at the end of the night, is for that lead to be 3.5. To give Jose Quintana and his guys a chance to take three of four on Wednesday.

If that means he gets #10, so be it. If that means the W gets plastered on another pitcher’s record, fine.

The role of Ace takes on many shapes throughout the season. Sale has very nearly played all of them already. He’s been the best pitcher in the American League (and it isn’t all that close) and with the exception of this Clayton Kershaw gentleman with the Dodgers, no one has had a better start.

Sale has had good starts to a season before. He’s had good middles. He’s had good ends. That end, however, has never taken place later than October 3rd. That was 2010–Sale’s rookie year. He logged a two-inning save that night. His fourth and final of the year. The Sox finished 88-74, six games behind the Twins in the AL Central.

For Sale, this year won’t be a true success unless his team is playing much later than October 3rd.

Sale survives rough start, becomes first seven-game winner in majors


CHICAGO (AP) — Todd Frazier doubled and homered in support of Chris Sale, who survived a rocky start to become the first seven-game winner in the majors, as the Chicago White Sox rallied for a 7-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins Saturday night. After a two-run, 36-pitch first inning, Sale settled down to retire 19 of the next 20 batters.

Sunday, the White Sox will try to sweep the series, game time 110pm on WLS-AM 890.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Sox Hot Start, Cool Bats

Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers during a spring training baseball game Saturday, March 19, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers during a spring training baseball game Saturday, March 19, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

By Connor McKnight

WLS AM 890 White Sox Pre and Post Game Host

The White Sox are off to their best start in years. Not only did their 8-2 start match the best 10-game starting stretch since 1982, the Sox 7-3 start on the road is the best since 2005’s 8-2 road start.

Now, at 8-4, the Sox are tied at the top of the AL Central with the defending World Series Champion Royals.

And they’re not hitting. Not yet.

Instead, it’s been the pitching and defense that’s held the White Sox up to start the season. Whether looking at Chris Sale’s magnificent complete game shutout of the Rays on April 15th or Mat Latos’ two quality starts (12 IP, .75 ERA, .50 WHIP, .098 BA) the White Sox arms have kept them in every game but two.

Todd Frazier has been fantastic at third base and has saved no fewer than three hits to start the year. One of those completed a sweep of the Twins and helped David Robertson earn his fifth save in five outings. Roberston didn’t notch his fifth save until May 6th of 2015.

It’s very clear—remarkably so—that the pitching is good and the defense is much, much better than last season. As a team goes through the ups and downs—the inescapable drag of attrition—the hope is that defense stays as constant as possible. Pitching and hitting have natural, expected peaks and valleys. There will be times where even Chris Sale can’t get anyone out. (OK, not him. He doesn’t have those. Maybe someone else. Someone human.)

Looking at the start of the year for the offense, leaves you to strain a bit at the stat lines. Todd Frazier’s start has been typical of his career, unfortunately. He’s a career .236/.316/.474 hitter in April and March. Things heat up for him as the season progresses, however, and hopefully the friendly hitters park that is US Cellular Field and the wonderful weather Chicago is supposed to get over the next few days (Seriously, it’s supposed to be 80 on Monday. Get out to the ballpark.) help heat up his bat.

Jose Abreu has been struggling to find his comfort zone as well. It seems that he’s a bit unsure of the strike zone right now but the amorphous strike zone typically set forth by CB Bucknor can make a lot of hitters question their livelihoods.

The difference between the slow offensive start for this year’s White Sox has to do with the names on the back of the jerseys. Those names are Abreu and Frazier. They have track records. They sell trading cards and bubble gum. They’ve hit 134 home runs since the start of the 2014 season.

There’s every reason to believe they’ll be just fine.


Sunday night, the 17th of April, a full two weeks into the season, was the fourth time since the start of the month the White Sox have been in their own beds. The White Sox have played more road games than anyone in baseball. To boot, (people still say that, right?) the Sox are in a stretch of 19 straight games between off days. They play 17 of their first 27 on the road.

It’s not an excuse for anything. You won’t hear anyone use it as such.

It’s just kind of crazy and I thought you should know.

White Sox win opener

White Sox WLS Logo

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Chris Sale struck out eight in a solid season debut to build off his franchise record last year, and the Chicago White Sox beat the Oakland Athletics 4-3 on Monday night.

Adam Eaton hit an RBI triple and Jimmy Rollins drove in a run during a four-run third inning in his first game with the White Sox playing back home in the East Bay.

What had been planned as a marquee matchup between two American League aces never happened. Oakland right-hander Sonny Gray was scratched because of food poisoning that sent him to the emergency room.

Sale didn’t get his opening day start last season, when Jeff Samardzija took the ball after Sale was slowed by a broken right foot. Sale went on to finish 13-11 with a team-record 274 strikeouts.