A much-needed Chris Sale Sunday - Lineups & Preview 6/1

Chris Sale has been here before. His team is staring down a two-game losing streak, at the risk of suffering a home sweep, and is in the middle of a brutal offensive stretch where their 3.82 runs/game for the month of May doesn't tell the whole story. 

They hit .245/.305/.368 as a team in May (85 wRC+), and struck out in a truly prodigious 24.7% of their trips to the plate. After three runs and nine hits in two games against the Padres, the Sox need an ace pitching performance to save them from themselves.

Sale has largely been up to the task. Of his six outings, the two that didn't qualify as quality starts, one was shortened rain delay, and both ended in wins over the Indians. The one start of Sale's the Sox didn't win, he struck out 10 over seven innings and took a no-hitter into the sixth. The one start of his where he didn't strike out over a batter per inning, he shut out the Royals over eight innings.

Becoming reliant on his changeup has improbably made Sale even more dangerous than before, and with another day yet until Jose Abreu returns, the Sox need the reduced difficulty of seven-to-eight innings of one-to-two runs allowed from Sale.

Or they could bust out against old friend Eric Stults. The 34-year-old southpaw filled in admirably in a spot start for the Sox in 2012 before being put on waivers. Ever since then, he's been a yeoman innings-eater for the Padres during a lean period for their injury-riddled pitching staff. He made 33 starts for the Pads last season and sopped up over 200 innings with a slightly under 4.00 ERA. This year, his already meager strikeout rate has fallen to barely over 10%, and he's mostly getting hammered. 4.92 is not a good ERA for Petco Park.

For contrast, Sale's strikeout rate is hovering just over 32% at the moment.

White Sox Lineup:                                                            

  1. Adam Eaton – CF

  2. Gordon Beckham – 2B

  3. Dayan Viciedo – LF

  4. Adam Dunn – 1B

  5. Alexei Ramirez - SS

  6. Paul Konerko – DH

  7. Marcus Semien – 3B

  8. Tyler Flowers -- C

  9. Moises Sierra -- RF

Chris Sale -- SP

A lefty on the mound has prompted Robin Ventura to go away from Conor Gillaspie and his .400 OBP. Marcus Semien is much closer to the player we want him to be against left-handers, hitting .273/.333/.418, albeit with a massive strikeout rate that might never be corrected.

Padres Lineup:

  1. Everth Cabrera – SS

  2. Chris Denorfia – RF

  3. Carlos Quentin – DH

  4. Chase Headley – 3B

  5. Tommy Medica – LF

  6. Jedd Gyorko -- 2B

  7. Yonder Alonso – 1B

  8. Rene Rivera – C

  9. Wil Venable -- CF

Eric Stults -- SP

Where to Watch: Today’s game will be broadcast on CSN and Fox Sports San Diego.  1:10 p.m. Central start time.


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