Sale fighting command, not velocity

Left-hander has strung together two subpar starts

Sale fighting command, not velocity

CHICAGO -- White Sox left-hander Chris Sale will make his scheduled start Monday at home against the Angels, pitching with one extra day of rest because of Thursday's scheduled off-day. He has not been affected by being hit with a line drive in his left thigh last Thursday at Fenway Park, and he feels good overall.

So mound struggles over his past two starts simply can be classified as moments reminding the White Sox that their ace hurler is human after posting eight straight games with double-digit strikeouts from May 23 to June 30.

Sale feels good, but not getting results

"Again, you look around the league and there's some other great pitchers that have had some struggles as well," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "But do I want to run him out there every five days? Absolutely. I'm not less excited to throw him out there.

"I'm excited every time he goes out there, and we're confident every time he goes out there. He is human, and that's part of going through a long season. There's going to be some ups and downs, but for him, when he goes out there, there's a chance he could do something special, and there's a chance something like that could happen. So, it's a tough couple games for him, but he's always been able to bounce back."

In his past two starts against the Red Sox and the Rays, Sale has allowed 14 earned runs on 18 hits and four walks over 10 1/3 innings. His location has been off, and with his fastball seemingly a problem in that area Tuesday, Sale threw only 43 compared to 34 changeups and 30 sliders, according to Brooks Baseball.

But with 16 strikeouts in those two starts and no clear-cut indicators of trouble, Ventura has no plans to give Sale a rest, as has been done in the past with the four-time All-Star.

"I know in the past we've done that, but that's with his velocity. He'd start getting really, low 90s, almost 80s at some point, where most of his pitches were like that," Ventura said. "That's not what it is. Again, you take your chances with a guy like that. If it's something physical, we'd definitely do that. We're always going to err on the side for him to do that, but he doesn't feel that way, and we don't feel that way.

"It's possible that command might not have been there, but the fastballs that he threw, they hit pretty far. He's got other pitches. I think they were sitting fastball. They got him early and hit some homers, so he readjusted and went with some offspeed stuff. And I think good pitchers will be able to do that. They'll go off of that. But when he has his really good fastball he can locate, it makes him even tougher."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.