By Nate Gotlieb
Ventura: no easy way to approach Sale
White Sox ace Chris Sale has made opposing hitters feel clueless all season. Even his manager, a 16-year major-league veteran with more than 1,800-career hits, admitted he wouldn’t have a good plan for facing him.
“First you have to try and just get him in the zone,” Robin Ventura said Sunday, a day after Sale pitched eight scoreless innings and struck out 12 in a victory over Minnesota. “I think you’re just trying to find something to get him in the zone, but the angle that he creates on a lefty, you know, survival is the first thought.”
Sale is 10-1 on the season with a career-low 1.88 earned-run average, which is the second lowest in baseball. The 25 year old has allowed just three runs in four July starts.
“I think he’s better [in] that he manages his pitches better, as far as he’s a little more efficient jumping ahead and throwing different things at different times,” Ventura said when asked if Sale is a better pitcher than in the best. “I don’t think he solely relies on the slider that he did in the past, which I think, you know, is going to help him health-wise…Even last night, you know, once you kind of get a lead like that, it’s not max effort. He goes out there, he manages getting ahead, controlling the inning but not having to max everything out every pitch. That’s when you start growing.”
Pitching staff rolling
Including Sale’s outing last night, Chicago’s pitching staff has posted four-consecutive starts of at least seven innings and four or fewer earned runs. Ventura attributed that to the staff’s ability to get ahead of hitters.
“[When] you throw strike one, it becomes a different at bat,” he said. “I think that’s been a pretty big key for us the last few games, the guys just jumping ahead.”
Right-hander Scott Carroll (4-6, 4.52 ERA) will look to continue that trend today, as the White Sox (51-54) try to sweep Minnesota (46-57) at Target Field. The Twins will counter with right-hander Yohan Pino (1-3, 4.64 ERA), who is making his second start versus the White Sox.