Saturday, Aug. 7, 2010
By Brett Ballantini
BALTIMORE Chris Sales self-evaluation of his major league debut was as slender as the 65 leftys frame, and modest as his Floridian roots.
Bemused at the very question, Sale smiled, shook his head and said, Bad.
But you better believe the Chicago White Sox had a sunnier assessment. The rookiethe first member of the 2010 draft class to reach the majors, just a shade quicker than two months after he was selectedshowed poise and focus both on and off the mound on Friday.
His results to open the eighth inninga four-pitch walk to Brian Roberts and an 0-2, jam-shot single by Nick Markakis, (who was an incendiary 4-5 on the night)were not ideal. But Sale was right on the plateonly one of his seven pitches was off the plate and his speed on seven fastballs topped 94 mph.
Most importantly, the Chisox jefe has the young fellas back.
Maybe Sale was nervous, but I liked what I saw, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. Markakis had a jam shot. I want to see what I havethats why hes up here, in that spot. I like him. One thing about him: Hes not scared.
I feel worse than anybody going out there and doing what I did in a close ballgame, Sale said. For Guillen to say that stuff, its pretty encouraging. It still doesnt hide the fact that I went out there and had a bad day, but tomorrow when I show up there will be a little less pressure on me.
Thats certain, as is another thing: The White Sox know what they have in Sale.
Ozzie came out to remove me and said, Good job, no worries, Sale said. My teammates were great, saying Hey, dont worry about it, its your first game, its not a big deal. Its out of the way now, nothing you can do about it. Youll get more chances.
Sale was almost immediately philosophical about his rough debut.
I just went out there hyped up, and wanted to do well, he said, while making it clear that nervousness was no excuse for his outing. I just didnt have any feel and didnt show up, thats pretty much it. I walked a guy and made a bad pitch 0-2, and you cant do that. Ive just got to get more prepared for next time and take this as a learning experience.
Sale even displayed some humor over his debut, which goes down as 0.0 innings pitched as he failed to record an out.
Yeah, get the bad stuff out now, the southpaw said with a chuckle. Hopefully later on down the road it gets better.
Later on down the road could be as soon as tonight, if you ask Guillen.
Youre going to see Sale in those types of situations more often because I want him to help Matt Thornton, Chicagos only other healthy lefty reliever. We tried to debut him in an easier spot, but we couldnt do it. Hes here for a reason. Were going to see how it works.
Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.