Sale, Kershaw must-see TV tonight on CSN


Sale, Kershaw must-see TV tonight on CSN

On Wednesday, Jake Peavy dueled with St. Louis' surprise ace Lance Lynn in a game that ended with a 1-0 score. It was a outstandingly-pitched game played at a crisp pace, with Lynn striking out 12 and Peavy only allowing a solo home run to Carlos Beltran.

Tonight's Clayton Kershaw-Chris Sale matchup (9:00 p.m., Comcast SportsNet) could be better.

Sale enters the night leading the American League in ERA, and his 2.08 mark is second to Atlanta's Brandon Beachy among major-league starters. He's one of 18 starters averaging a strikeout or more per inning during his rapid rise to extended dominance.

We all knew Sale had filthy stuff and the ability to strikeout opponents by the truckload, but that he's done it as a starter so quickly has been incredibly impressive. Every Sale start is a must-watch.

And when he's facing the reigning National League Cy Young winner? What's the next logical step up from must-watch, be really quick with your bathroomsnack breaks?

Kershaw hasn't been as dominant as he was in 2011, in which he posted a 2.28 ERA with an average of 9.57 strikeouts per nine innings and an 0.98 WHIP. His ERA (2.65) and WHIP (1.00) are both good, but his strikeouts are down (8.259 IP), although that's about the only 'blemish' on his record. Kershaw remains an elite pitcher, boasting a mid-90's fastball with outstanding breaking offerings.

In his last start, Kershaw fanned 12 Mariners, a welcome reminder to those in Los Angeles that he still has it.

Kershaw has started against the White Sox once in his career, that coming in his rookie year of 2008. As a 20-year-old making only his seventh big-league start, Kershaw allowed two runs on six hits with four walks and three strikeouts in four innings as he and the Dodgers were out-dueled by John Danks and four White Sox relievers.

Now 24, Kershaw -- who threw to Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford at Highland Park High School in the Dallas area -- has come into his own with Los Angeles. He hasn't posted an ERA above 3 since his rookie year, and he's someone who very well could take home multiple Cy Youngs in his career.

The Sox hope Sale will follow Kershaw's dominant path as a starter. Tonight, we'll get to see both electric young lefties match up in what looks to be an outstanding battle.

White Sox avoid arbitration with Todd Frazier, four pitchers

White Sox avoid arbitration with Todd Frazier, four pitchers

The White Sox agreed to one-year contracts with five players on Friday, including a $12-million deal for Todd Frazier.

Frazier established a franchise record for home runs by a third baseman in 2016 when he blasted 40 in his first season with the White Sox. A free agent after the 2017 season, Frazier hit .225/.302/.464 in 666 plate appearances, drove in a career high 98 runs and produced 2.4 Wins Above Replacement, according to 

Starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez is set to earn $5.9 million this season. The team also agreed to deals with relievers Dan Jennings ($1.4 million), Zach Putnam ($1.1175 million) and Jake Petricka ($825,000).

The White Sox acquired Frazier in a three-player trade from the Cincinnati Reds in December 2015. It's expected they would try to trade Frazier, who has hit 104 homers since 2014 and participated in the All-Star Game Home Run Derby three consecutive years, before the Aug 1 non-waiver trade deadline as part of the club's rebuilding efforts. 

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Gonzalez went 5-8 with a 3.73 ERA in 24 games (23 starts) after he was signed to a minor-league deal in early April. 

Jennings posted a 2.08 ERA in 60 2/3 innings. 

Putnam had a 2.30 ERA in 27 1/3 innings with 30 strikeouts before he had surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow. 

Petricka was limited to nine appearances before his season was ended by hip surgery.

Both Petricka and Putnam are expected to be ready for spring training.

Top White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada impresses club at minicamp

Top White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada impresses club at minicamp

It was a limited look, but Yoan Moncada made a strong first impression on the White Sox this week.

Acquired from the Boston Red Sox last month in the Chris Sale trade, Moncada arrived in Glendale, Ariz., earlier this week with the franchise hopeful he'd offer a glimpse of the skills that earned him the designation as baseball's top prospect.

Moncada didn't disappoint, either, as he had White Sox evaluators excited throughout a three-day hitters camp. Whether it's his physicality, how he carried himself or his baseball IQ, White Sox staffers couldn't have been happier about their first experience with their new prized possession.

"(Moncada) looks like a linebacker, but he moves like a wide receiver," player development director Chris Getz said. "He's got good actions. He's obviously a switch hitter. He's got power. He can hit. He's got a good smile. He seems to be enjoying himself out here, he interacts well with his teammates.

"So far it has been very impressive, and we look forward to seeing more."

Hitting coach Todd Steverson said Moncada, 21, looked every bit the part when he first observed him from across the hall at the team's facility. Steverson spoke to friends in the scouting community and wasn't the least bit surprised when he encountered the 6-foot-2, 205-pound second baseman. Moncada was just as impressive on the field with his skills and effort, Steverson said.

"This is a large specimen right here," Steverson said. "He's put together pretty well.

"On defense it looks like he has some really good hands.

"He got in the box and he hadn't swung for a while. But still, you could tell he had good hands going through the zone, has a nice approach and wants to work real hard."

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Moncada's fancy tools have been well publicized since he received a $31.5-million signing bonus from the Red Sox in March 2015. graded Moncada's hit tool at 60 on the 20-80 scouting scale while his base running is 65 and arm is 60. Moncada's power received a 55 grade, and his fielding is 50. Moncada received an overall grade of 65, which suggests he has the ability to be a perennial All-Star and worth 4 Wins Above Replacement, according to

But the White Sox weren't just impressed with Moncada's physical ability.

One of manager Rick Renteria's top objectives for the camp was to emphasize fundamentals and what's important to the team. Renteria wanted to identify specific game situations and how players are expected to handle them so they're well prepared for the future. Moncada handled that area well, too.

"Yoan is a very knowledgeable baseball player who has experience on a multitude of levels," amateur scouting director Nick Hostetler said. "In the brief time we had with him this week, he showed a tremendous ability to drive the ball the opposite way as well as drive balls to the gap and out of the ball park from both sides of the plate. That ability will help him handle and any all situations that Ricky asks him to do at the plate. Defensively his hands and feet are very good and will have no problem there. He's a bright hard-working kid that is part of a bright future for the organization."