Save Us, Chris Sale - Game Preview & Lineups 4/17

A day after the atrocity that is the White Sox bullpen used up every last pitch in its arsenal in a 6-4, 14-inning loss to the Red Sox, Chris Sale takes the mound in hopes of avoiding the shenanigans that led to that embarrassing conclusion.

Leury Garcia is starting at second base and will likely be unavailable in relief for tonight's 7:10 rubber match against Jon Lester and the Boston Red Sox, but one can rightly assume Daniel Webb, fresh off of a gutsy, 59-pitch performance as the only actual arm left in the bullpen, won't be.

The White Sox, though, hope it won't matter with their ace on the hill. Sale is coming off of his shakiest performance of the young 2014 season, allowing three runs in just five innings of work in last Friday's win over the Indians. As noted in Tuesday's series preview, this will be the first time Sale faces the Red Sox as a starter in his career, which will hopefully be to his benefit.

Back to Garcia for a second. The utility infielder joined the likes of Casper Wells and DeWayne Wise on Wednesday as position players to take the mound for the White Sox in recent years, and per CSNChicago's Dan Hayes, he's never pitched before in his life — not even in youth baseball.

“That was awesome,” Garcia said. “I tried to throw a sinker and a four-seamer for strikes. … No, nobody showed me. It was like natural, you know?”

Given the performance of White Sox pitching, it's somewhat of a miracle the game lasted as long as it did. With Sale on the mound, it's unlikely the team will run into similar troubles on Thursday night, but if emergency strikes, the White Sox still won't likely be hurting for arms.

First, the news came Thursday afternoon that the White Sox recalled Zach Putnam from Triple-A Charlotte and designated Donnie Veal for assignment. Putnam has thrown six innings in relief for Charlotte this year, striking out 11 and walking just one.

Putnam will be in uniform and available for Thursday's game, and of the six other relievers (OK, 7 if you include Garcia) who appeared in Wednesday night's loss, four failed to throw more than 12 pitches (one being Veal), meaning Ronald Belisario, Scott Downs and Jake Petricka should be more than able to appear in a pinch. That doesn't exactly inspire confidence, but it's still worth noting.

Thursday's game will also give Paul Konerko his second start of the season. The veteran is 1-for-9 on the season, with the lone knock the memorable grounder off the third base bag in Game 2's comeback victory over the Minnesota Twins. Konerko is 10-for-25 with three home runs in his career against Lester, with the majority of those at-bats coming in his primer years. In a surprise however, Konerko's addition doesn't put Dunn on the bench. Robin Ventura is giving both Jose Abreu and Conor Gillaspie the day off.

Today’s Lineup: 

  1. Adam Eaton - CF
  2. Marcus Semien - 3B
  3. Dayan Viciedo - RF
  4. Adam Dunn - DH
  5. Paul Konerko - 1B
  6. Alexei Ramirez - SS
  7. Alejandro De Aza - LF
  8. Tyler Flowers - C
  9. Leury Garcia - 2B

Chris Sale - SP

Red Sox Lineup:

  1. Dustin Pedroia - 2B
  2. Xander Bogaerts - SS
  3. David Ortiz - DH
  4. Mike Napoli - 1B
  5. Jonny Gomes - LF
  6. David Ross - C
  7. Daniel Nava - 3B
  8. Ryan Roberts - 3B
  9. Jackie Bradley Jr. - CF

Jon Lester - SP

Where to Watch:

Today’s game will be broadcast on CSN+ and NESN. 7:10 Central start time