Southpaw joins rare company with 14-K gem against Houston
By Andrew Simon
Chris Sale dominated again on Monday night, as the left-hander led the White Sox to a 3-1 victory over the Astros at U.S. Cellular Field. Sale held Houston to one run on five hits over eight innings, with one walk and 14 strikeouts.
Here are five things to know about Sale's latest sparkling performance:
• Twenty-five times on Monday, a Houston batter whiffed at a pitch from Sale. That marks four consecutive starts in which the southpaw has generated at least 20 swings and misses. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last pitcher to accomplish that feat was another lanky lefty, Randy Johnson, from July 31-Aug. 15, 2002, for the D-backs.
• Sale also struck out 13 batters last Wednesday at Texas and 12 on May 28 at Baltimore. The last pitcher to record at least 12 strikeouts in three consecutive starts was Johnson, from July 18-29, 2001, for Arizona. Pedro Martinez also authored a four-start streak for the Red Sox that same year, from May 12-30. In fact, since 1980, the only pitchers besides Sale to go for three in a row are Johnson (five times), Martinez (five) and Curt Schilling (once).
• Sale also struck out 10 on May 23 against the Twins, making him one of three pitchers since 2008 to get into double digits in four consecutive outings. He joins David Price (five straight in 2014) and Jon Lester (four in 2010). The Rays' Chris Archer also has an active streak of three straight.
• Sale is the first pitcher since Johan Santana in 2004 to string together at least four straight starts of 10-plus strikeouts and no more than two walks. Over a five-game stretch for the Twins, Santana struck out 58 and walked eight over 40 innings. Sale, meanwhile, has racked up 49 strikeouts while issuing only four free passes during his streak. But Archer, who last pitched on Sunday, could be on his way to something even more impressive, as he has double-digit strikeouts and zero walks in three straight starts.
• Monday's 14 strikeouts matched the second-best total of Sale's career. He also racked up 14 on June 14, 2013, against the Astros, while he reached 15 on May 28, 2012, against the Rays. Sale's 23 career 10-strikeout games already are eight more than any other pitcher in White Sox history.
Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.