A pitching matchup between Corey Kluber and Chris Sale looks pretty good on paper, looks awesome and gripping and electrifying on TV, and probably looks like the reckoning from the batter's box.
Chris Sale was sharp and enduring. He continues to look like he's hammering out the details of a modified recipe where his slider is a bit player, but is closer to the finished product than he was last month. And yet, even with eight innings of one-run ball, he was outclassed most of the night by Kluber, who was so vicious that Conor Gillaspie got applause for making contact to end the second after the first five batters of the night whiffed. The Sox picked away at the armor on occasion but spoke after the game like war survivors and thieves. Sale had the skill to hang tight and the scoreboard even as the style point disparity grew, and there's a certain degree of gratitude to have a stake in such a compelling masterpiece.
When Kluber left the game after nine innings, things quickly swung in the Sox favor, with Zach McAllister letting the first two runners reach before an 0-2, two-out flare from Carlos Sanchez gave them their sixth win a row in the form of a 10-inning thriller.
- Let's not pretend that Sale wasn't good, or even very good. You don't give up four hits in eight innings throwing slop. Facing an Indians lineup that didn't have many good matchup against the lanky lefty--batting Ryan Raburn cleanup was their big countermove--Sale was economical, shook off early control problems, and mostly lived off his fastball-change combo unless he was forced off. On nights like this you can glimpse the reasoning for it.
- That said, David Robertson coming for the ninth was brilliant from Robin. The margin for error was remaining razor sharp while the leverage was spiking, with Sale becoming more vulnerable. That's the time for Robertson.
- Adam Eaton was 1-4 on the night, including a first-pitch pop-up that stranded two runners. But he single-handedly scored the tying run in the sixth, effectively forcing extras when he tripled with one out, and dashed home and dived for a score on a barely wild pitch, right in the middle of two dominating Kluber strikeouts that otherwise would have stranded him.
- Zach McAllister also gave an opportunity for Carlos Sanchez to have a more fitting homecoming moment than getting overwhelmed by Kluber, and gave him something to push the other way after starting him off 0-2. Positive reinforcement moments for rookies struggling to find their footing are always nice.
- Avisail Garcia left the game after leading off the tenth with a walk in favor of J.B. Shuck, who would score the winning run. There was an argument for the move on its own, but Garcia reportedly had knee inflammation that had originally cropped up in Oakland. The White Sox are painting it as a precaution, which will ultimately be tested by how Garcia feels tomorrow. He's probably just circling the bases too much.
Next game is Tuesday night at 7:10pm CT vs. the Indians on CSN