TCS Afternoon 5: Chris Sale breaks things

1. Small sample size and all that, but I don't know if you've heard anything about Chris Sale's last five starts...they've been pretty good. He has a 1.45 ERA, with 61 strikeouts over 37.1 innings. Opponents have hit .152/.206/.250 against him, while striking out 43.3% of the time. Major league hitters have been twice as likely to strike out as reach base against Sale for the better part of the last month. 

And the Sox have gone 3-2 in his outings.

So he's upset.

2. And while leaving your ace out to dry after he strikes out 12 and throws 125 pitches (most since the Boston start last year, if you want to compare and contrast unhappy memories), this wasn't a relatively bad week for the White Sox offense. Sunday was the only game where they scored less than three runs. They have had two other weeks all season where they have had only one game with less than three runs. The most recent was their Milwaukee-to-Oakland bumslaying roadtrip, and the time before that was a homestand with the Tigers and Reds when "stir it up" effectively peaked.

3. Alexei Ramirez claimed to be unable to sleep after two defensive gaffes Saturday, which really ups the ante for professed accountability of the next player who gets pinned for a screwup in one of the countless high-leverage moments the unending garbage dumpster that is the White Sox offense creates. Chris Sale is going to one-up him--because he has to--and claim to both have a nightmare about a scorching line-drive he gives up to yield a 1-0 lead on his 139th pitch in the 10th inning, but also claim he was attacked by the drive, and produce a welt to prove it. Jeff Samardzija will actually get trapped inside the moment in which he allowed a go-ahead bomb, doomed to constantly re-live it, and will have a hell of a union grievance to file when his contract expires while he's still frozen in time.

4. Oh great, the streaking Pirates are coming to town. The guys who have lost three games all month, have won four in a row, and have scored 29 more runs than the Sox this season despite playing in a massive park and using their pitcher to hit all season (which may or may not be better than batting Carlos Sanchez). This is good, and not at all the prototypical example of the kind of gauntlet this June schedule is for the Sox. Hey, what's former NL MVP Andrew McCutchen doing over a random interval, like say, his last 149 plate appearances? I heard he was struggling after all:


Oh. Oh great.

5. Carlos Rodon vs. Francisco Liriano tonight could set a record on the number of sliders thrown, whiffed at, and whiffed so hard that batting helmets fly off. Since getting yoked in Oakland, Rodon has a 1.11 ERA over four starts, striking out 23 in 24.1 innings and allowing opponents a .281 slugging percentage.

Please throw an 11-inning shutout, Carlos.