The White Sox caught a short-term break on Tuesday night when storms postponed their game against the Cubs while trailing 2-0. Then again, it was a waste of Chris Sale, who hadn't started since May 17 due to mild shoulder tendinitis.
But at least the Sox could see what Sale had, and he had plenty. He picked up where he left off in terms of velocity. Pitch f/x clocked his average fastball closer to 95 than 94, and his changeup and slider had more oomph than usual, too.
That's not necessarily surprising -- for starters, a three-inning truncated start would cause his velocity to skew higher. Beyond that, he allowed a two-run homer to Welington Castillo in the middle of it. Gopher balls tend to cause Sale to transform all Hulk-like into Pissed Sale, and he attacked the next two batters with mostly fastballs to get out of the inning.
The rolling slider to Castillo was the only real mistake -- and thanks to the rainout, what rolling slider? As far as the records are concerned, Sale's streak of 23⅔ scoreless innings remains intact.
Since the weather erased the results, his condition remained the only real concern. All signs were positive according to Sale and Don Cooper, so now it's on to figuring out when he starts next:
"The benefit is we know that he’s OK right now," pitching coach Don Cooper said. "He got through the outing. And we’re going to sit on it and think if we’ll we bring him back Saturday or normal day Sunday. We haven’t decided that. We’re going to talk about it more."
Sale would have no objection to returning Saturday at Oakland. In that scenario, Jose Quintana would get bumped to Sunday’s game and get an extra day of rest. There seems to be no real benefit to that, though, since Sale would have the same amount of starts before the next off day on June 13 whether he pitches Saturday or Sunday.
"Yeah, I think we're going to discuss that," Sale said. "I don't know when a decision is going to be made, but I'm game for anything. I pretty much look at this (outing) as an extended bullpen. I don't think I threw more than 40 pitches. I should be able to bounce back pretty quick."
My stance on it is the same as it's been all year: Give Sale every available off day if there's no significant difference. Then again, with the forecast calling for scattered storms around Chicago today and Thursday, that rule might push him back into the middle of the next week. So Sunday seems good, no matter who pitches before him.
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Ventura said Keppinger "had some stuff" about four days ago that he played through but wouldn't elaborate.