Chris Sale said that fastball location was his No. 1 priority over the winter, and his start against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Wednesday underscored its importance.
Albert Pujols took Sale deep -- very deep -- to left field on a fastball that didn't get inside enough, and that resulted in three of the five runs charged to Sale over 4 1/3 innings. I want to say Vernon Wells also ripped a fastball that Sale left too over the plate.
After the start, Sale wasn't particularly pleased:
"Obviously, you don’t want to kick yourself around the house about it, but at the same time, I’m not going to let it roll off my shoulders,’’ Sale said. "I take this seriously. Whether it’s spring training, Game 7 or a Wiffle-ball game, I have to go out there and get the job done.
"What, I’ve thrown [71/3] innings? Given up eight runs? That’s unacceptable on every level; I don’t care who you are."
Sale's 9.82 ERA isn't pretty, but the good news is that he wasn't particularly lights-out last year, giving up 13 hits over 10 1/3 innings and a 5.06 ERA. It's very easy to make too much out of a poor spring, and Kenny Williams and Don Cooper are trying to ward off the negative talk.
"I like collectively how we look offensively and defensively. Our starting pitchers have struggled a little bit, but that's probably one of the things I should worry about the least. The rotation will be fine."
"What should I be worried about?" he said. "When has spring training counted? Nobody keeps numbers. It's about getting in innings and pitches and getting ready for the season."
Christian Marrero Reading Room
- Saladino's 1st day in Sox big league camp has a couple hiccups - chicagotribune.com
- White Sox call up Saladino to camp, cut six | whitesox.com: News
Speaking of not making too much out of something, Tyler Saladino's mid-spring promotion doesn't mean another Boone Logan story is in the offing. Really, he's just as deserving of a spring invite as Trayce Thompson is, and Robin Ventura is extending him the courtesy.
(Also, Dave Van Dyck said that Saladino dropped a flyball. I only had one eye on the game for most of it, but I saw that Alex Rios dropped a flyball in shallow right, and Saladino scrambled after it in time to get the forceout at second. Was there another one?)
Saladino went in the opposite direction of six of his campmates, as Gregory Infante, Damaso Espino, Brian Omogrosso, Jake Petricka, Brandon Short and Delwyn Young were the casualties in the first round of cuts.
At least we can explain one of Bill Melton's misidentifications on Wednesday -- Jesse Crain was warming up, but never entered the game due to a very mild oblique strain. Anthony Carter took his place.
- GM Williams on the White Sox: 'We're a lot better than people think' - CBSSports.com
- If White Sox fail, trades will follow - Chicago Sun-Times
Williams says his Sox are in a position to shock people. Joe Cowley says if they shock Williams, then Williams will resume unloading veterans, including Matt Thornton, the story's only source.
In further defense of his organization's current situation, Williams downplays prospect lists by pointing to the amount of major-league contributors the farm system has produced. His stance is predictable, but Scott Merkin writes a pretty thorough account through people besides the guy running the show. My favorite part:
Clearly, no team will come out and say, "Yes, our system needs major work," but Laumann admitted that the White Sox are weak up the middle, could get a little more catching depth and always need more pitching.
And should he ever make a regular, sizable major-league salary, he knows what he wants to do with it. Nice story.
- South Side Asylum: Spring Training Pitchers Power Poll: Week 1
- South Side Asylum: Spring Training Hitters Power Poll: Week 1
Much like Robin Ventura is making a competition out of situational hitting drills, Fornelli is turning spring training stats into points.
- White Sox Season Preview - Infield | White Sox Observer
- White Sox Season Preview - Outfield | White Sox Observer
James is tidily summing up the situations the Sox find themselves in situation by situation. I very much want to quote the kicker to the outfield piece, but that would kind of ruin the point of reading the whole thing. So, read the whole thing.
Chuck Garfien and Jerry Reinsdorf spent some time together to discuss Reinsdorf's history of sports franchise chairmanship. I haven't been able to watch these yet, so perhaps you can beat me to 'em.
Support the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum if you can.