After winning two out of three games versus the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Chicago White Sox were swept away by the Los Angeles Angels to conclude the California road trip. The White Sox now sit 4.5 games back of division leading Detroit as the Tigers come to U.S. Cellular Field tonight to begin a big four-game set.
No Issues with Sale’s Usage
Probably the biggest story to come out of Anaheim this weekend was whether or not Chris Sale should have came out to pitch the eighth inning with a 5-0 lead Saturday night. Manger Robin Ventura decided to let Sale start the eighth inning after breezing through the first seven innings while throwing just 90 pitches. As a result, Sale ended up loading the bases and giving up a game-tying grand slam to Mike Trout on a 3-2 changeup. Sale then departed the game after throwing 115 pitches, leading to many fans angrily questioning the usage of Chris Sale. Despite losing the lead, I have no issues with how Sale was used. Chris Sale is the ace of this pitching staff and arguably one of the top five starting pitchers in baseball, and I see no reason why he should have been pulled after seven innings. I understand that the White Sox had a five run lead, but keeping Sale on the mound gave the White Sox the best chance at holding onto the lead. The Angels have a potent lineup, and we have all seen the White Sox’ bullpen blow substantial leads this season. If Ventura had opted to go to the bullpen and they blow Sale’s lead, the same fans would have been clamoring to leave Sale in the game. You can’t have it both ways.
The other reason many fans were upset with sending Sale out for the eighth inning is his health. This was Sale’s fourth start since returning from the disabled list and some feel he shouldn’t be overused. I completely agree, but sending your ace out for another inning after only throwing 90 pitches is harmless. The White Sox would not have activated Sale from the disabled list three weeks ago if he was not fully healthy. Given that, there should be no restraints once his pitched count is built back up. Considering it was Sale’s fourth start, I have no problem with having him pitch 110-120 pitches every fifth day. Maybe I’m old school, but I think every starting pitcher should and could pitch 110-120 pitches every fifth day if their arm and body is conditioned to do so. If not, then they should not be in the major leagues, and they are definitely not an “ace”. I applaud Chris Sale and the White Sox for not surrendering to the fallacy of pitch counts and babying pitchers.
Semien Playing Some Outfield
Infielder Marcus Semien has started to see some time in the outfield at Triple-A Charlotte over the last few days. The White Sox would like Semien to learn left and center field to increase his versatility to the organization. This seems like a great idea to find ways to get Semien on the field whenever he makes his return to the White Sox.
Flowers and Viciedo Regress
About a month ago I examined the hot starts of Tyler Flowers, Dayan Viciedo, and Alexei Ramirez and determined that all three players would likely regress due to inflated BABIPs. Since then, Flowers has seen his average fall from .354 to .267, while Viciedo’s has dropped from .337 to .260. Alexei Ramirez is still producing at a very high level, but even his average has dipped 40 points from .356 to .316. Even though Flowers and Viciedo have come back to earth, they are both still having quality seasons. On the other hand, Ramirez looks like he is on his way to having a career year and he will likely be rewarded with a trip to the All-Star game this summer.
White Sox Draft Carlos Rodon
With the third overall selection in last Thursday’s MLB Draft, the White Sox selected starting pitcher Carlos Rodon. The left-hander is a junior at North Carolina State, and he was widely considered the best college pitching prospect in the draft. With high school standouts Brady Aiken and Tyler Kolek going first and second respectively, the White Sox had a pretty easy choice with Rodon. Rodon figures to move quickly through the White Sox farm system, and he could be in the rotation as soon as mid-2015. In addition, it would not surprise me if Rodon reaches the majors this year and pitches out of the bullpen much like how Chris Sale made his debut the year he was drafted. Obviously, draft picks are never guaranteed to pan out, but the White Sox have to be happy with the possibility of having Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, and Carlos Rodon as the anchors to their pitching staff for the future.