Do not leave him hanging. Not with the way he's hitting.
Chris Sale is scheduled to undergo an MRI for his troublesome-unless-it-isn't left elbow today. Robin Ventura cast an additional pall on the proceedings by saying that even he would still rather have Sale in the bullpen, all things being equal. Which is insane, all things being equal, but who knows if they are.
Ventura and Don Cooper (who made a separate radio appearance with Jim Bowden on Wednesday) are going to meet with Kenny Williams to discuss the situation that developed on the road, and oh, to be a fly on the wall in that room. Williams speaks very carefully -- think of how he was able to rely on his exact quote from the winter meetings when he didn't rebuild the way most anticipated. He made sure that his words were good weeks down the road. During this Sale flap, Ventura and Cooper have at times discredited their own logic lines shortly after introducing them. And that gives Joe Cowley plenty of room to plant seeds (or saplings) of doubt with anonymous sources.
If Sale can actually pitch, which role he ultimately lands in will tell us a lot about who's in charge. But since The Condor Conspiracy won't be resolved for a couple of days, and since the Sox are coming off a rare comfortable victory, I'd rather switch gears while the opportunity to avoid hand-wringing presents itself.
In no particular order, here are seven particular statistics that serve as a pleasant diversion.
Adam Dunn, .300/.434/.750 against right-handed pitching
Sure, you can flip that around and say that means Dunn must be awful against lefties, and that would be true (he's 3-for-31 with 16 strikeouts). But Cleveland's five starters are all right-handed, as is four-fifths of Detroit's rotation, so this four-digit OPS is going to come in handy, especially since only three returning White Sox regulars could muster a .700 OPS against righties last year.
Jake Peavy, 1.89 ERA
Peavy is 7-for-7 in quality starts while facing a pretty formidable sample of American League offenses -- Texas (first in OPS), Boston (third), Baltimore (fifth), Cleveland (seventh), Detroit twice (ninth) and Oakland (14th).
Out of all of those teams, Oakland's lineup is the only one that Peavy should have dominated. And he threw a three-hitter, so he did.
Alejandro De Aza, 17 walks
Does it surprise you to discover that De Aza has drawn more walks than Paul Konerko? Even with Konerko owning a 3-1 edge in intentional walks?
This was supposed to be the weakness in his game. With his .285 batting average and his walk rate of old, it would have been a pleasant development if his OBP exceeded .340. But thanks to his newfound discipline, he has a .369 OBP. I remember when people were concerned that De Aza was neither "prototypical" nor "traditional" as a leadoff hitter. De Aza's play is the kind of stuff that can expand imaginations after six years of slapping and running.
White Sox hitters, seven triples
Triples are fun, and it's a pleasure we haven't been privy to in recent years. After Alex Rios' game-winning three-bagger against the Indians on Tuesday, the Sox have the third-highest total in the AL.
The season's still young, but the White Sox haven't finished in the top half of the league in triples since 2001, when they had a seventh-best total of 29. Ray Durham has been missed.
White Sox baserunners, 23 steals in 32 attempts
Through the first 32 games of the 2011 season, Ozzie Guillen's Sox were only 18-for-36 on the basepaths, mainly because Juan Pierre wasn't sure he had lost two steps. This season, the Sox have run nearly as much, but they've been much stealthier about it.
Better yet, the Sox have improved over the first six weeks of the season. They've attempted 14 steals over the last 14 games, and have succeeded on 12 of them.
Opposing baserunners, seven steals in 17 attempts
A.J. Pierzynski's pace has slowed a little and Tyler Flowers is no longer perfect, but they're still way, waaaay ahead in controlling the running game compared to 2011. To put it a couple of ways:
- Through 32 games last year, White Sox catchers were 4-for-29 throwing out basestealers.
- With 10 kills under their belts, Pierzynski and Flowers can allow 41 consecutive stolen bases and still be ahead of last year's pace.
Not to give them any ideas.