SaleGreinke: A pitcher's duel, or will Greinke's road struggles continue?


SaleGreinke: A pitcher's duel, or will Greinke's road struggles continue?

A week ago, the buzz in baseball centered around a matchup between two dominant lefties. But the Chris Sale vs. Clayton Kershaw matchup didn't live up to its pitcher's duel billing -- that went to last Sunday's Jose QuintanaChris Capuano showdown.

Pitching aficionados will get another chance to see Sale participate in a pitcher's duel tonight, though, as Sale squares off against Zack Greinke in Milwaukee's first trip to the South Side since 2000. The White Sox swept Milwaukee en route to winning the AL Central with the best record in the league, scoring 29 runs in the three-game set.

That'll be tough to top this weekend given Greinke's presence on the mound Friday. The former Royal enters the game with a 3.10 ERA in 14 starts, although more impressive is his 2.01 FIP, which stands as the best in baseball.

Quick sidebar: Greinke's a fan of FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching), which measures a pitcher's ability to succeed at the things he can directly control -- walks, strikeouts and home runs. Everything other result is at the mercy of a pitcher's fielders.

"Thats pretty much how I pitch, to try to keep my FIP as low as possible," Greinke told the New York Times during his Cy Young season of 2009.

He's doing a fantastic job of it this season, striking out 95 with only 20 walks and three home runs allowed. That may be what you can expect from Greinke tonight -- lots of strikeouts, few walks and even fewer home runs.

But Greinke has struggled on the road this season, allowing opponents to have a .796 OPS against him away from Miller Park. By FIP, he's still excellent, posting a 2.52 FIP on the road as opposed to a 1.44 one at home. But his ERA on the road is 4.96, and opposing hitters have basically been Alejandro De Aza against him.

He hasn't thrown enough road innings to make a solid determination about his struggles. Maybe it's luck, or maybe his command just isn't as good away from Miller Park, leading to more hittable pitches and, of course, more runs crossing the plate.

Sale is coming off statistically his worst start of the season, allowing more than three runs for the first time in a start this season last Friday in Los Angeles. He's pitching on, as Kenny Williams called it this week, a college schedule, on a full week of rest. If everything goes according to plan, Sale's pitch count could get up in the 115, 120 range.

He'll have a great chance to go deep into the game tonight. If Greinke holds up his end of the bargain and Sale bounces back, it could be one of the more exciting games of the 2012 season.

You can catch all the SaleGreinke action on Comcast SportsNet tonight at 7 pm.

Today on CSN: White Sox square off against Padres

Today on CSN: White Sox square off against Padres

The White Sox are back in action in spring training as they square off against the San Diego Padres. Coverage begins this afternoon at 2 p.m. on CSN!

Probable starters: Jhoulys Chacin vs. Dylan Covey

Latest on the White Sox: All of the most recent news and notes

Channel finder: Make sure you know where to watch

In-Game Live: Follow along during the action all game

White Sox: Jose Quintana pleased with final warmup before Opening Day start

White Sox: Jose Quintana pleased with final warmup before Opening Day start

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Jose Quintana was pleased with his final warmup before Opening Day.

The White Sox Opening Day starter threw 48 pitches (30 strikes) against a Milwaukee Brewers minor league team at Camelback Ranch on Tuesday. Quintana allowed two hits, two runs (one earned), walked one and struck out three in three-plus innings. He next pitches at home on Monday against the Detroit Tigers.

"I finished my preparation on a high note," Quintana said. "I'm heading to the season with good energy and satisfied with all the worked and effort that I put in my preparation.

"I'm absolutely ready for the season to start."

A tweet from USA Today's Bob Nightengale on Tuesday suggested Quintana will start the season as a member of the White Sox despite myriad rumors. Nightengale noted that the Houston Astros refuse budge on what they're willing to pay for the 2016 All-Star. The White Sox have also held firm on their asking price and haven't been motivated by any of the offers they've received to move Quintana.

The team reduced the number of players still in camp to 34 on Tuesday with the trade of Peter Bourjos and by cutting nonroster invitees Cory Luebke and Matt Purke. Luebke, who has been sidelined for six days after he tweaked his hamstring, finished the spring with a 0.96 ERA in 9 1/3 innings. He can opt out of his minor-league deal in May. Purke struck out eight in eight innings and finished with a 2.25 ERA. 

Both had been in the mix for one of two open bullpen spots.

Fellow reliever Jake Petricka looked much calmer on Tuesday than he did after taking a comebacker off his hand Monday. X-rays were negative and Petricka played catch. He hopes to pitch as scheduled this weekend in Milwaukee. 

"This is just one of those you do everything you can do to stay healthy, and its part of the game you can't control," Petricka said. "You never want that to happen, especially this late in camp. "But we dodged a bullet and we're good to go."

The White Sox also had a close call with second baseman Tyler Saladino, who was hit by a pitch in the left wrist in minor league action on Monday. Saladino received treatment and could return to action on Wednesday.

"He's doing good, we're just holding him back today for my well being," Renteria said.

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Renteria said reliever Juan Minaya is improving but still likely to start the season on the DL. Minaya suffered an abdominal tear in mid-March. 

"He has been improving solidly and responding to the treatments," Renteria said.

Yolmer Sanchez went 2-for-2 with an RBI and scored a run in a 7-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals at Surprise, Ariz. 

Michael Ynoa allowed an unearned run and a hit in 2 1/3 scoreless innings. 

Zack Burdi struck out three in a scoreless inning.