Mauer: Better to catch Sale than face him

Mauer: Better to catch Sale than face him
July 16, 2013, 11:45 pm
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NEW YORK -- Joe Mauer felt a little sympathy for his National League counterparts on Tuesday night.

Having experienced a number of at-bats against Chris Sale, Mauer knew what those NL hitters were up against when the White Sox starter took the mound in the second inning. Sale then went on to deliver as Mauer thought he might with two shutout innings. The effort earned Sale the victory as he produced two scoreless innings and the American League defeated the NL 3-0 at Citi Field.

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“I’ve had some at-bats against him and usually when you see a guy more often than not you start to feel a little more comfortable against him,” Mauer said. “But he’s one of those guys that, you know what’s coming and its still tough to hit.”

Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander also had an idea what was coming when Sale took over for his teammate Max Scherzer in the second inning. Sale didn’t disappoint as he fed his opponents a steady diet of fastballs, sliders and changeups. Per, Sale’s fastball averaged 96.07 mph and he mixed it with an 85-mph changeup. Sale threw nine fastballs, three sinkers, six changeups and six sliders. Of his 24 pitches, 17 were strikes.

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“Chris is a great pitcher,” Verlander said. “He showcased that tonight. He’s a great talent and he went out there and did what needed to be done.”

Washington’s Bryce Harper did what he needed to do and felt satisfied to come away with good contact. Harper’s aim was to get a fastball and when he did he lined the ball only for it to find the glove of third baseman Miguel Cabrera.

Even though he was out, Harper was satisfied.

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“I was just trying to lay off the slider,” Harper said. “I knew I couldn’t hit it. So I was just trying to layoff that and get something straight and put some good wood on it. It felt good.”

Sale felt good about having the chance to throw to Mauer. But Mauer insisted the pleasure was all on his end.

“It was a lot more fun to catch him than to try to hit against him,” Mauer said.