He never wants to skip a start, but based on how he feels Chris Sale is willing to concede the White Sox made the right decision last week.
The White Sox ace confirmed he’s all set to start Tuesday against the Cubs after he missed his previous start on Wednesday with mild tendonitis in his left shoulder. Whether it was his shoulder program on Friday, long toss on Saturday or a bullpen session on Sunday, Sale has consistently felt strong.
“Not only was it good for my shoulder but my elbow feels great too not throwing for a few days,” Sale said. “My body feels better, so hopefully this will last for the rest of the season.”
A scary thought when you consider just how good Sale has been thus far.
Through nine starts, Sale is 5-2 with a 2.53 ERA. He has averaged seven-plus innings per start and has allowed 62 base runners to reach in 64 innings while striking out 61.
In his last two starts, both wins, Sale has been even better. He limited the Angels to four hits and three walks in 16 2/3 scoreless innings while striking out 19. Though his last start was May 17, Sale isn’t worried whether he’d be out of sync.
“That’s definitely not a focus point right now,” Sale said. “I’m worried about going out there and winning a ball game and not how bad I might be. Yeah, just knocked the rust off the last couple of days and hopefully it was enough.”
Manager Robin Ventura said he’s confident Sale is good to start. Last time around, it was Ventura’s staff that prevented Sale from starting against the Boston Red Sox after he informed them of his soreness.
“He said he's ready to go,” Ventura said. “He says he feels good. It's nice to get him that break of an extra few days. And he feels stronger, which is good news.”
Flowers back in lineup
Catcher Tyler Flowers is back in the lineup Monday after he missed the previous two games with back spasms. The White Sox catcher said the injury isn’t as bad as in spring training, when he missed several days.
“It feels better so that's good,” Flowers said. “I did a bunch of stuff yesterday, hitting a fair bit and simulating some catching stuff and it felt pretty good.”
Flowers doesn’t know the cause of his back issues. Nothing he did stands out as to why he has now suffered twice in three months.
“Nothing in particular happened again,” Flowers said. “I just kind of woke up with it and I had a hard time moving a few days ago. If anyone has a secret let me know. I don't know what's causing it or what it is. I'm just continuing to do the same things I've done. I do a number of back exercises and stuff and with this episode in spring, I'm just trying to avoid it.”
Sox back Hawks
Asked about Monday’s attendance, Ventura expects a large, energized crowd to be on hand at U.S. Cellular Field for the Crosstown Cup opener. Still, Ventura’s aware those in the stands may be preoccupied by another Chicago team’s playoff game in Detroit tonight. On Saturday, whenever the Blackhawks scored during a 4-1 win over the Red Wings, the stadium’s foghorn went off.
“It's going to be loud during the whole game,” Ventura said. “I think the loudest it'll be probably is if the Blackhawks score. That'll be the loudest, that'll be an obvious. I think other than that, it's louder than any other games we have this year.”