Aces in MLB don’t always have their best stuff on the mound, but it sure helps to get lucky.
The Chicago White Sox‘ No.1 arm, Chris Sale, labored against the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night. He didn’t bring his unhittable stuff most lineups are accustomed to seeing. Heck, he didn’t even bring his “less than admirable” stuff. Sale was pretty much awful .. except for the biggest at-bats and in the biggest moments of the game.
Despite allowing a two-run home run to Adam Jones in the second inning, Sale got himself out of the jams. The crafty southpaw got himself out of not one, but two bases-loaded situations without giving up a run. Unfortunately, the pitchers behind him couldn’t take advantage of his valiant effort. The staff surrendered a three-run home run to Chris Davis in the bottom of the ninth to lose 6-4.
Because of the South Siders’ poor starting rotation, Sale will have to have a Cy Young-calibre season if this last-place team hopes to compete in a surprisingly deep division. The Sox’ pitching staff have accumulated 36 losses to just 35 wins — 12 of which have come from veterans John Danks and Sale (six wins apiece).
To pile on the woes of the starters, the White Sox haven’t had much support from the bullpen either. Ronald Belisario has been the closer for the majority of the season since Matt Lindstrom went down with injury, and he has yet to get comfortable in the role. On the year, Belisario has a 3-4 record and four blown saves.
Unless the Sox add pitching to supplement a budding offense full of potential stars, Sale will be asked to do the heavy lifting each and every time he takes to the mound. Although it is unfair to expect that he can carry an entire staff by himself, it is all the team can do realistically until pitching relief arrives.