BOSTON -- He can’t identify many current faces, but the direction in which the White Sox are headed is recognizable and Chris Sale thinks it could be successful.
The Boston Red Sox pitcher spent Thursday afternoon catching up with old White Sox teammates, coaches, etc. at Fenway Park. But the bulk of the lengthier conversations have been with staff members because of the tremendous amount of roster turnover that has occurred since Sale was traded eight months ago. Seven of the nine players moved have come in the two months since Sale first returned home as the White Sox are in the midst of the franchise’s first rebuild since 1997. But no matter who fills out the uniform, Sale thinks the White Sox will be in good shape with Rick Renteria as their manager.
“I’ve said it before, I think with Ricky leading the way, he’s got a great presence over there,” Sale said. “Obviously talking with a few of the guys stuff like that, they said he’s really set a tone over there. It’s good to see. It’s good to see. It’s good to hear about.”
Sale’s in a great spot with the first-place Red Sox. He currently leads the American League in wins (13), ERA (2.70), innings (153 1/3), strikeouts (216) as well as FIP, WHIP, hits per nine, strikeout per nine and strikeout to walk ratio. As evidenced by Tuesday’s start when the Red Sox rallied twice for a 12-10 victory over Cleveland, Sale is also confident his loaded team can win even when he has a poor performance.
The six-time All-Star loves pitching in the electric atmosphere of Fenway Park. He attributes the endless energy for an uptick in velocity. Aside from the inability to find good late-night food — he and his family live about 15-20 minutes outside of Boston — Sale is pretty pleased with his new life.
“I definitely am appreciative of it,” Sale said. “This is a perennial team to go to the playoffs and realistic goals of winning the World Series. The history not only with this team but in this ballpark. Pitching here is as fun as any place in baseball. I even said that when I was with Chicago, that I loved it down here.”
Sale has tried to keep an eye on what’s transpired on the South Side, where he played from 2010-16. He lobbed a text message to Jose Quintana after he was traded to the Cubs to tell him he’d look good in blue. While he’s sad to see that era come to an end, Sale is happy for Quintana to land in a great spot.
“It’s one of those things that’s bittersweet,” Sale said. “You are sad to leave your friends but you are obviously excited for the new opportunity. Seeing him go to the North Side where they are in the thick of things, I’m just happy for him.”
But the veteran pitcher also thinks the new direction the White Sox have taken can have them competitive for years to come. He knows about the talent the team has acquired in all these deals. And with Renteria in place and setting the tone, Sale thinks the White Sox should be in great shape —even if there are fewer familiar faces.
“It’s different, but it’s baseball,” Sale said. “That’s how it works. They know the direction they are going in. They could be pretty darn good here in a few years.”