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Sox starter Chris Sale keeping a stronger pace in 2013

Chicago White Sox v MinnesotTwins

Chicago White Sox v Minnesota Twins

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The facts: 6:10 p.m., Ch. 9, 670-AM, 97.5-FM.

The starters: Chris Sale (8-11, 2.73 ERA) vs. Andrew Albers (2-0, 0.00).

Updated: September 18, 2013 6:16AM

MINNEAPOLIS — Chris Sale will make his 23rd start of the season Saturday, and when he’s finished he’ll probably be near the 165-inning mark for the season, with six or seven starts left if he goes to the finish line with normal rest between starts.

That could put him around 215 innings — 23 more than the 192 he pitched in 2012, his first season as a starter. And there are no signs of Sale hitting a wall as he zooms into uncharted territory.

‘‘I feel better at this point than I did last year,’’ he said Friday. ‘‘In between starts was a little bit of a struggle last year. I definitely felt the wear and tear, which is kind of expected going through the first year. But I have a plan that gets me where I need to be on the fifth day, and I’ve been feeling strong, so ride it out as long as I can.’’

Manager Robin Ventura said Friday that extra rest for his starters down the stretch has been discussed. Expected September callups such as right-hander Erik Johnson and lefty Charlie Leesman possibly could provide an extra day here and there for the rotation.

‘‘It depends on who those guys are and how often,’’ Ventura said.

Sale had a minor shoulder setback last season and missed one start this year because of a tender elbow. Since then, it’s been smooth sailing.

‘‘This last offseason, I probably trained harder than I have in the past,’’ he said. ‘‘I definitely trained more. Also, they’ve watched out for me where I needed that extra day’s rest.’’

Sale (8-11) ranks fifth in the American League in ERA (2.73) and strikeouts (167). He leads the league with four complete games.

Close, no cigars

The White Sox’ 4-3 loss to the Twins on Thursday dropped their record to 18-27 in one-run games. Seventy-seven percent of their games have been decided by three runs or fewer. What does it mean? Good teams win the close ones, and bad teams don’t. Ventura said it could mean the Sox aren’t far from turning things around next year.

‘‘You can look at it any way you want,’’ he said. ‘‘They are close games, and you’re in them. A hit here or there could change those games. How many of them, you don’t know.

‘‘I remember the Twins in ’90 were in last place and won the World Series the next year.’’

This and that

Gordon Beckham, who came out of Thursday’s game with a strained right quadriceps, entered in the eighth inning Friday when third baseman Conor Gillaspie left with a bruised left hand.

Dayan Viciedo returned to the starting lineup after missing six straight starts with a sore left thumb.


Twitter: @CST_soxvan

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