CHICAGO -- Chris Sale figures to be selected as an All-Star for the fourth straight year when reserves are announced Monday night. The left-handed starter also seems to be the only viable White Sox candidate, unless first baseman Jose Abreu makes his way onto the Final Vote ballot.
With double-digit strikeouts recorded in eight consecutive games, joining Pedro Martinez as the only Major Leaguers to accomplish such a feat, Sale has drawn increased notice from those outside of Chicago and the Midwest. And he already was considered one of the game's best starting pitchers before this run.
One of those admirers is Jim Palmer, the Hall of Fame hurler who is currently an Orioles television broadcaster. Palmer spent time Friday talking to White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper about Cooper's staff ace, and did the same with MLB.com.
"When is he going to let somebody hit the ball?" said a smiling Palmer, who won 268 games with a 2.86 ERA over 19 years in Baltimore. "He's a tremendously talented guy. When you take that along with the ability to learn from the experiences you have and God gives you that kind of talent, you are long-legged and have some deception and great stuff and you have a changeup and throw it in any count, you are going to win a lot of games.
"It's good to see guys like that. It's really kind of what this game is. We had Nolan Ryan and [Gaylord] Perry and Ferguson Jenkins on the other side of Chicago, winning 20 games seven times. The Seavers and the Carltons and all those kinds of people. The legend continues."
Sale, and White Sox fans, will find out for certain at 6 p.m. CT on Monday, when the All-Star reserves, pitchers and Final Vote candidates will be announced on the Esurance All-Star Selection Show on ESPN. Immediately following the show, fans can return to MLB.com to begin voting to select the final player for each League's 34-man roster via the 2015 Esurance All-Star Game Final Vote. Fans can cast their votes from a list of five players from each league until 3 p.m. CT on Friday, July 10.
And the voting doesn't end there. During the Midsummer Classic in Cincinnati on Tuesday, July 14, fans can once again visit MLB.com to submit their choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award. Voting exclusively at MLB.com, online and via their mobile devices in the 2015 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, the fans' collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
Palmer actually saw Sale's big league debut in 2010, when he pitched out of the bullpen for two months after he was selected 13th overall in the Draft. Sale allowed a hit and a walk and departed the game at Camden Yards without retiring a single batter. His success rate has exponentially increased since then.
Entering Monday's start against the Blue Jays and Mark Buehrle, his former teammate and mentor, Sale has 141 strikeouts, 22 walks and 78 hits allowed in 103 1/3 innings. His ERA has dropped from 5.93 on May 6 to its current 2.87. With Sale scheduled to pitch Monday and then Saturday at Wrigley Field, he remains a candidate to be the AL All-Star starter.
"Those things, when they come up, you handle them," Sale said. "But until then, you just keep doing your job really. Can't look too far into the future and really never look back."
Abreu's statistics certainly are solid, hitting .293 with 14 homers and 44 RBIs, but he's at a loaded position, which includes Miguel Cabrera, who was elected as the starter but will miss the game because of an injury, Prince Fielder, Eric Hosmer and Albert Pujols. If Abreu is placed on the Final Vote ballot, it would be the club's 11th candidate since it began.
Scott Podsednik ('05), A.J. Pierzynski ('06), Paul Konerko ('11) and Sale ('14) have been the recipients of the winning White Sox Final Vote campaigns. "Punch A.J." and "PaulStar" were two of the more memorable Final Vote concepts put forth by the White Sox.
MLB.TV Premium subscribers will be able to live stream the All-Star Game via MLB.TV through FOX's participating video providers. Access will be available across more than 400 supported MLB.TV platforms, including the award-winning MLB.com At Bat app. MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities, including the 2015 Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders, part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day on Monday, July 13. The Derby will feature a new format with brackets and timed rounds and will be broadcast live by ESPN and MLB.com beginning at 7 p.m. ET.
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