Sale, Sox seek redemption against Cubs

Sale, Sox seek redemption against Cubs
May 28, 2013, 8:15 am
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Gametime: 7:00 p.m. (Coverage begins with White Sox Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m.)

On the mound: Edwin Jackson (6.11 ERA, 53 IP, 61 H, 52 K, 22 BB, 5 HR) vs. Chris Sale (2.53 ERA, 64 IP, 44 H, 61 K, 15 BB, 6 HR)

Sale hasn't had any setbacks since he was scratched from his last start with mild tendonitis in his left posterior shoulder, and said he's ready to go for the White Sox tonight.

"I threw a bullpen yesterday and actually feel better today than I have any other day leading up to now," Sale said Monday. "Treat it like any other start and go out there and leave it out there."

Sale's been outstanding in the month of May, posting a 0.87 ERA and holding opponents to a .112/.150/.188 slash line in 31 innings. In those four starts, he's struck out 31 and issued just five walks.

Jackson will return to the rubber at U.S. Cellular Field for the first time since he was traded away from the White Sox in the summer of 2011. While with the Sox, Jackson had a 3.66 ERA in 30 starts, and the right-hander credits pitching coach Don Cooper with helping him get his career on track.

But in 2013, Jackson has been knocked around while his walk rate has jumped to 3.74 per nine innings -- since joining the White Sox, it hasn't been above 2.88 in a season. In theory, Jackson's 3.68 FIP would be a cause for optimism, but he's yet to show any signs of consistent progress in his 10 starts this year.

Today's storyline: What's next after Monday's blowout?

The White Sox entered Monday on a decent run, winning nine of their last 12 games. During that stretch, they played clean baseball -- but on Monday, they reverted back to "those White Sox," as Dan Hayes put it in his game recap, playing sloppy baseball and collecting just two hits in a 7-0 loss to the Cubs.

The flip side of the story is the Cubs played a great game Monday, with Jeff Samardzija leading the charge. The right-hander threw a two-hit shutout, while Julio Borbon homered and the rest of the lineup capitalized on the Sox miscues.

"Sometimes you got to tip your cap -- a guy is throwing mid-upper 90s with off-speed stuff like he’s throwing," White Sox third baseman Conor Gillaspie said of Samardzija. "It wasn’t like he was bouncing it. He was throwing it for strikes. For me, personally, I’m tipping my cap. It’s the way it goes sometimes."

For the White Sox, the storyline for Tuesday will focus on whether Monday's game was a one-night anomaly, or if the team's sloppy play has made a longer return. For the Cubs, how Jackson throws will be watched closely, as the pitcher who signed a $52 million contract in the offseason has yet to live up to that deal.

The last word

Samardzija threw the first shutout a Cubs pitcher has ever recorded against the White Sox Monday night, and it was the fourth complete game by a Cubs pitcher in Crosstown history. The other three pitchers who have gone the distance against the Sox: Matt Garza (9 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 7 K on July 2, 2011), Mark Prior (9 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 7 K on May 22, 2005) and Jon Lieber (9 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 12 K on July 8, 2000).

Before Samardzija, only two Cubs pitchers had thrown at least eight shutout innings against the White Sox: Ted Lilly (June 13, 2010) and Glendon Rusch (July 4, 2004), with Lilly taking a no-hitter into the ninth before allowing a leadoff single to Juan Pierre.

Only one White Sox starter has thrown a shutout against the Cubs -- that being Wilson Alvarez on June 18, 1997.