More sliders due on Chris Sale’s menu
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org May 16, 2013 10:24PM
Chicago White Sox starter Chris Sale throws against the Los Angeles Angels during the seventh inning of a baseball game in Chicago, Sunday, May 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
The facts: 9:05 p.m., CSN, 670-AM, 97.5-FM.
The starters: Chris Sale (4-2, 2.88 ERA) vs. C.J. Wilson (3-2, 3.88).
Updated: May 17, 2013 12:41AM
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Chris Sale’s 15-strikeout gem was the lefty’s signature game until his complete-game one-hitter with no walks against the Angels on Sunday night. Sale said that one took the cake because — being a former reliever who knows what it’s like — it gave the entire bullpen a full day of rest.
“I like taking care of those guys because they’re coming in quite a bit,’’ Sale said.
Sale will be opposed by C.J. Wilson again Friday night. With great command of his fastball and a good changeup working, he threw only 12 sliders Sunday, so look for him to show more sliders.
“A lineup like this with the hitters they have, you have to change it up,’’ Sale said Thursday. “I can’t throw the same things in the same counts and expect the same results. These guys are professional hitters and a great team. They’re going to make adjustments.’’
Rios gets it right
Alex Rios has been the steadiest, most productive force in a light-hitting lineup. Through Wednesday, he had 15 walks, in part because the No. 4 and 5 hitters have struggled and he’s getting pitched around, but also because of the basic approach he has taken since last season: “Swinging at better pitches,’’ Rios said.
“I am focusing on my approach, that’s the only thing you can control,’’ he said. “And the results will be better if the approach is right.’’
Rios, who walked 26 times last season and 27 times in 2011, is on pace for 64 walks, nine more than his career high in 2007.
Amen to that
Manager Robin Ventura doesn’t dismiss hitting mechanics by any means, but in the end, he said production comes down to pitch selection.
“You can have all the mechanics and everything else,’’ he said. “It’s pitch selection, what you’re trying to do and how you’re swinging. Once you get the mechanics down and they have that confidence they’re doing the right thing, then it’s about pitch selection. Eventually you want everybody to get there, where you’re concerned about pitch selection more than mechanics.’’
The Sox were looking for their fourth consecutive game of 10 or more hits.
“We knew we were going to get out of it sooner or later,’’ Rios said. “It’s nice to see the guys get consecutive hits, and big hits. It revived us. Sometimes hitting is contagious. It’s good.’’
This and that
Sox starters were 10-6 with a 2.77 ERA and 17 quality starts in their previous 25 games. Thursday’s starter, Jose Quintana, hoped to get more than the average 4.22 runs of support his teammates had given him since 2012, the sixth-lowest in the American League.
◆ Gordon Beckham and John Danks could return for the home series against the Miami Marlins next weekend. Danks is scheduled to pitch Saturday for Class AAA Charlotte.
◆ Adam Dunn was at first base again with Paul Konerko the designated hitter. “Adam does a little better as far as his mental thing being on the field,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. “I don’t know if either one is a perfect DH to just sit in the dugout. Paul will play first base here, too, I’m sure.’’