Sale taking the charge out of U.S. Cellular Field

Sale taking the charge out of U.S. Cellular Field

Sale taking the charge out of U.S. Cellular Field
CHICAGO -- Chris Sale and Mark Buehrle share a common bond, and it's certainly not Sale's fastball velocity that often touches 95 or 96 mph or Buehrle's multi-year, multi-million dollar contract.

Both pitchers have found great success working at U.S. Cellular Field, which according to ESPN's Home Run Tracker, yields the most long balls per game in baseball at 2.87. Buehrle posted a 90-54 record with a 3.74 ERA during his White Sox home appearances before taking his skills to Miami.

Sale has topped that level of dominance in his first year as a starter. Factoring in Sale's 13 strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings against the Yankees on Wednesday, the southpaw has a 7-0 record with a 1.17 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 61 2/3 innings over his last eight home starts.

For the season at U.S. Cellular, Sale stands 8-2 with a 1.74 ERA and a .188 opponents' average against. The key to success for Sale, who has benefited from great movement on his pitches and some deception in his delivery, has been to not let the ballpark change his approach.

"Obviously, when you pitch in Oakland, you know you can get away with a few more mistakes," Sale said. "But that doesn't mean you are going to make more mistakes. You are not going to take anything off.

"You always try to pitch down in the zone, no matter where you are playing. You could be playing in Yosemite and still make quality pitches down in the zone. It's just about, some places you can get away with mistakes. Here, sometimes you don't."

Yankee Stadium was another ballpark mentioned by Sale as a locale where good pitches still can end up as runs. The 23-year-old pointed to Seattle's Safeco Field along with Oakland as visiting venues where mistakes are easier to keep in play.

But a crucial point for Sale is not to get intimidated by where he's pitching.

"If the ball goes, it goes. If not, awesome," Sale said. "For me anyways, I try to not go out there and think about home runs getting hit. It's just trying to make quality pitches and get ground balls and those fly balls sometimes you hold your breath on them. But we have a darned good outfield that can track most anything down."