Chris Sale Day goes as planned, then bullpen gets involved

Ronald Belisario didn't even screw up that bad this time, honest.

Sure, he got tagged with the loss and got charged for two runs in 1.1 innings, but he really only allowed two (just two!) ringing base-hits in the ninth. It's not his fault that the second one scored the go-ahead run in the form of Mike Napoli, who reached when his nubber kicked off the heel of Marcus Semien's glove at third.

Nor was it his fault that Scott Downs replaced him and allowed the final run of Thursday's 3-1 loss to the Red Sox when he stared blankly at a fair bunt down the line. And it's not Belisario's fault that he was in his second inning of work because the bullpen was nuked the previous night.

Belisario didn't make this world, he, like the rest of the bullpen, are simply not good enough to transcend it. His ERA is 12.91 now.

That the bullpen was more unlucky than over-the-top terrible offers little comfort to a wasted gem from Chris Sale, who earned a Jose Quintana Special (that means no decision) after striking out 10 over seven one-run innings.

We've seen Chris Sale work more efficiently, we've seen Chris Sale rack up more strikeouts, we've seen Chris Sale light up the radar gun more and we've seen Chris Sale slightly more fired up and emotional, though there was much cursing indeed. But on this night, even if we seen before, was such a striking display of perfectly executed change-ups and unhittable sliders that reminded of the wonder and miracle of Sale's ability.

Or maybe we all just saw 15 walks last night.

Sale carried a no-hitter through five innings, before Xander Boegarts annihilated it with a solo bomb to left with two outs in the sixth. With the bullpen burnt, Sale was allowed to  pitch through his control abandoning him in the seventh, and vaporized Ryan Roberts with a 94 mph fastball on his 127th pitch, ending a threat his two walks had created.

Whatever pyrotechnics Sale might have had over Jon Lester, the Red Sox ace made up for it in longevity and impact. While Sale had a no-hitter through five, Lester was perfect through five. While Sale left after seven with just a run allowed, Lester finished the eighth by striking out Dayan Viciedo to preserve the 1-1 deadlock with the go-ahead runs in scoring position.

It's been a second since the White Sox offense last looked omnipotent, but facing off against Lester gave them a downright enfeebled appearance. Jose Abreu sat to ease off the stress of his 1-20 slump, and Dayan Viciedo and Paul Konerko combined for an 0-8 performance as the right-handed power in the middle of the order. The only Sox tally came when a Leury Garcia ground-rule double was sandwiched between infield singles by Tyler Flowers and Adam Eaton in the bottom of the sixth. A questionable strike three call on Marcus Semien helped stamp out that threat

With two outs in the ninth, Alexei Ramirez extended his season-opening hitting streak to 16. Him vs. Chris Sale is going to be a hell of an MVP race.


Box Score

Team Record: 8-8

Next game is at Texas at 7:05pm tomorrow on CSN Chicago

Follow The Catbird Seat on Twitter @TheCatbird_Seat