Sox rout Rangers 19-2
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Sun-Times Media July 3, 2012 11:00PM
White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale picked up his 10th victory of the season Tuesday. | Scott Stewart~Sun-Times
Updated: August 5, 2012 6:51AM
CHICAGO — White Sox left-hander Chris Sale got his cake and will eat it, too. Sale will be passed over for his next scheduled start Sunday, the last day before the All-Star break, which frees him up to pitch Tuesday in the All-Star Game.
The Sox and Sale don’t hold the Midsummer Classic in higher regard than their game Sunday against the Blue Jays. But this move allows Sale to stay fresh going into the second half, and it allows him the reward he has earned for being one of the best pitchers in baseball in his first three months as a major-league starter.
“Whether I want to see it or not, it’s going to happen,’’ Sox general manager Ken Williams said of Sale pitching Tuesday in Kansas City.
Whether Sale — who picked up his 10th win against two losses in the Sox’s 19-2 rout of the Rangers on Tuesday night — starts the game is another issue. Williams doesn’t want him to, and he was looking for the Rangers’ Ron Washington, the American League manager, presumably to let him know an inning would be just fine for his prized lefty.
“That’s something I don’t foresee happening,’’ Williams said of a possible start for Sale.
The Tigers’ Justin Verlander, the reigning AL MVP and Cy Young winner, is the logical choice to start. If Sale pitches an inning, it would work as a side-day workout for him. And with all of his days off wrapped around it, he can go full tilt.
He’ll still get an extended rest, and not starting Sunday keeps him away from a second consecutive start on four days of rest. He has pitched mostly on fifth and sixth days.
“On the front side and back side of (the All-Star Game), he’s going to get his rest and catch his third wind and hopefully finish strong,’’ Williams said.
Sale was named to the All-Star team Sunday. The Sox are playing this Sunday’s starter by ear, manager Robin Ventura said. They could make a call-up, or, depending on who’s fresh with a four-day break after Sunday, use several pitchers.
Sale likely won’t start the first game after the break, in Kansas City against the Royals on July 13, so he could get a 10- to 12-day rest. He can go out and compete and not have to throw seven or eight innings.
“We’re looking to do what’s best for him and us,’’ Ventura said.
Williams was reminded of Sale’s face-to-face meeting after the Sox pulled him out of the rotation in Detroit in May. Sale, who had a tender elbow at the time, talked him into going back in after a brief stay in the bullpen. Williams said Sale would be an All-Star closer if he wasn’t a starter.
Williams was complimentary of Sale’s work to stay healthy. He cited a day off in which Sale was the only one in the clubhouse before noon, taking care of his arm a day after he pitched.
“What he has done, he’s earned all of what’s coming to him right now, no doubt,’’ Williams said. “But he’s also earned his health by doing all the little things between his starts.’’
Sale has been quick to thank his teammates for their offensive support in his starts, and there was plenty to be thankful for Tuesday.
The Sox scored nine runs in the fifth to take a 16-0 lead. They hit three home runs against Roy Oswalt in the first inning, including a two-run shot by Kevin Youkilis in his first at-bat as a White Sox player at U.S. Cellular Field. Adam Dunn followed with his 25th homer, and after Paul Konerko flied out to the warning track in center, Alex Rios hit his 11th.
A.J. Pierzynski’s blast in the fifth was a welcome sight for those among the 30,183 on hand who believed he was slighted by Washington, who chose the Twins’ Joe Mauer over him for a spot on the All-Star team.
Pierzynski, who doubled in the first, took a curtain call outside the dugout.