1. What was your favorite quote from Bob Nightengale's long feature on the connection between Chris Sale and Randy Johnson (major takeaway: they're both tall, lanky, freakish, left-handed strikeout machines and they think one another are cool without having met)? For me, it's not close; it's definitely Kenny Williams slipping in machismo while recounting that time he tried to move a perennial All-Star and likely future Cy Young Winner into the bullpen and got yelled at by said player.
Williams said he reminded Sale that he was in shape "and can still fight" during the phone call where Sale famously tough-talked his way back into starting. Now remember that this is the guy who got video of himself working out and driving in his muscle car into the reality show The Club in 2010.
Williams is also assigned with the responsibility with the move in this piece, out of concern that Sale was becoming "too slider-dependent," so I'm not sure he comes off much better than the flagellating GMs who passed over Sale in the draft.
2. Veteran Sox blogger Jim Margalus has painted his masterpiece: Chris Sale is acknowledged as The Condor in print.
3. The Chicago Magazine profile on Jose Abreu earlier this year identified his passion for working with the mentally disabled, and here's the first fruit from that. The Sox launched "Abreu's Amigos" this week in partnership with Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago. Abreu donated $10,000 to the school, which focuses on Autism research, and appeared along with Alexei Ramirez, Melky Cabrera and Emilio Bonifacio to run a baseball clinic. The clinic looks to be the first of several interactions scheduled with disabled students and Abreu, with the aim being to provide opportunities for socialization.
It all sounds well and good enough. Abreu talks the talk of a man of conscious, and it's good to see him putting down roots and finding ways to contribute to his new city.
4. It's an idea I kicked around with Mau Rubio a bit on the podcast, but this weak draft--missing any supplemental, second or third round picks--reminds that this Sox season deserves more scrutiny. They're not simply one of a series of contenders who may or may not make it, they're a team that sold out for the present and will likely do very little to augment their farm system. If they're not fortifying for the future or succeeding in the present, it's a wasted year.
5. I spent 10 minutes looking at John Danks' game log looking for some sort of discernible pattern. It was a waste. He's bad? That's a big takeway. Other than that random complete game shutout, he's been on a pretty terrible stretch. Even including those nine shutout innings, he has a 6.00 ERA over his last four starts, with opponents hitting .340/.389/.590 against him.
Danks' opponent in Tampa is 25-year-old rookie swingman Matt Andriese, who is filling for an injured Jake Odirizzi. Andriese has "started" three games for the Rays this season, and has not gotten out of the fourth inning any time. Not even because he was getting shelled, he just doesn't seem to be fully stretched out. So, if you're wondering when you can start getting enraged that the Sox haven't knocked today's starter out of the game, the answer is "the fifth inning."