I pay a lot of attention to what goes on in Chicago baseball, writing for the Chicago Sun-Times. So when I saw that the tigers had topped the White Sox yesterday, 7-6, I immediately figured that the Tigers had beaten up on Chris Sale, who despite the Sox woes has had an outstanding season.
As is my wont, I was wrong.
You’ve got to read stories behind the scores.
Of course, the remarkably shabby White Sox fielding played a role in this story but not in the way you might expect. No, Sale did not allow a sackful of unearned runs, he pitched brilliantly. In fact, Sale was working on a shutout when he was pulled in the 8th after 97 pitches, leading 3-0. He had allowed four hits and a walk and whiffed seven.
It gets uglier. As Nate Jones went to the mound for the Sox in the 9th, he held a 6-0 lead.
Now I don’t want to go into the gory details, but the Tigers scored five times in the 9th before the first out, then tied the score and won it in the 12th. This was the first Tigers win after trailing by six in the 9th since Aug. 22, 1947,when they topped the Washington Senators by the same 7-6 score.
It was the first time the White Sox lost after leading by at least six runs in the 9th inning or later.
Nine to Know
The Chris Sale Report
- With one start remaining, Sale is assured of a losing season as he remains 11-13 on the season.
- Proving that wins are not an indicator of a pitcher’s efficacy, Sale lowered his ERA to 2.97. Only Yu Darvish (2.81), Hisashi Iwakuma (2.76), Bartolo Colon (2.64, and Anibal Sanchez (2.51) have lower ERAs in the AL
- Sale now has 221 whiffs on the season, only Clayton Kershaw (224), Max Scherzer (230), and Yu Darvish (260) have more this season.
- His 221 strikeouts are the most for any any White Sox pitcher not named Ed Walsh who had seasons of 269, 258, 255, and 254 between 1908-12.
- Walsh never averaged more than 6.28 strikeouts per nine innings; Sale is averaging 9.52 this season
- His 221 strikeouts are the most for any any White Sox lefty breaking the previous single season Sox record held by Gary Peters who struck out 215 in 1967 and averaged 7.44 strikeouts per nine innings.
- Sale has thrown 23 Quality Starts (min. six innings pitched, max. three earned runs) this season and is 11-7 in those games.
- Sale has thrown 17 Ultra Quality Starts (min. seven innings pitched, max. two earned runs) this season and is 9-5 in those games.
- Sale has thrown 209 innings this season, the eighth most in the majors.