The Royals will find out tonight if some extra rest did Chris Sale any good.
After limiting the Royals to one run in eight innings (albeit with 10 hits allowed) on July 15, Sale struggled. He allowed 10 earned runs in 13.1 innings in two starts, so the White Sox gave him some extra rest.
Sale hasn’t pitched since July 27 -- a span of nine games. He will pitch tonight against the Royals for the White Sox, who are leading the American League Central.
Will the rest help? Sale doesn't seem concerned.
“If it's there, cool. If not, you've still got to pitch,” Sale told the Chicago Tribune. “It doesn't matter how hard it's going. Just whatever it is, you've still got to make pitches and get outs. Whether it's hard, soft, slow, in, out, up, whatever, you've got to get outs somehow.”
Sale, who is 12-3 with a 2.61 earned-run average, will not be on a pitch count. But he’s already piled up 124 innings this season, his first as a starter.
“It's nice to be able to do it now so the last couple months we can really make a push and nothing like this will hopefully come up again,“ Sale told the Tribune. ”We can just go through these two months every fifth day, or whatever they have now for us, make a good push these last couple months and put all this stuff behind us.”
In two starts against the Royals this season, Sale is 1-1 with a 2.77 ERA. In those games, he averaged 4.8 strikeouts per nine innings, his lowest total against any opponent. Luis Mendoza will start for the Royals, and he’s give up just three runs in 13 innings to the White Sox this year.
On Tuesday, Jake Peavy will start for Chicago, and his last memory of the Royals can’t be good. He allowed 12 hits and six earned runs in seven innings at Kauffman Stadium on July 14 and the Royals won 6-3.
Bruce Chen goes for the Royals, and he’s been extremely tough on Paul Konerko. The White Sox first baseman is batting .182 with one RBI against Chen in the last five years. A.J. Pierzynski, who has homered in five straight games coming into this series, has hit .333 against Chen in the last five years.
Jose Quintana also is getting some extra rest. Quintana, who has allowed eight runs on 18 hits in the last 13.1 innings, will have eight days between starts before he takes the hill Wednesday for the Sox.
Konerko has had a bit more success against Jeremy Guthrie, who will start Wednesday for the Royals. Konerko has hit three homers in 29 at-bats against Guthrie over the last five years. Alex Rios has hit .316 against Guthrie in that span.
The other guy to watch is Adam Dunn, who leads the American League in homers (31), walks (80) and strikeouts (156). However, he’s been in a slump, batting just .111 in the last seven games with no homers, one RBI, three walks and, of course, seven strikeouts.
| Pete Grathoff, email@example.com