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Chris Sale and Jose Abreu, just like old times

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Ace rides his slider to seven shutout innings, while slugger returns to lineup and drives in runs

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

A team is never as bad as its worst games, and they're never as good as its best games. Yet due to a cluster of subpar individual performances and curious moments punctuating a string of overall baffling play, those awful nights lay out cases that are more compelling than usual.

That's why the White Sox couldn't have timed their 9-2 thumping of the Texas Rangers much better. One night after Jeff Samardzija, the entire offense and the entire defense took turns disappointing each other, Chris Sale and Jose Abreu gave the Sox a much more professional air about them.

There's not much that has to be said about the Condor in words. You can show them in numbers, whether his line from his last start:

7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 13 K

His line from his last five starts:

38.2 IP, 19 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 3 HR, 6 BB, 53 K, .144/.186/.250 against

Or the amount of sliders thrown over his last five starts:

Or you can watch the video:

Or you can you can watch this swing by Joey Gallo ...

Sale-Gallo

... during which Gallo's bat had crossed the plane before Sale's slider entered the frame:

Gallo still

Or you can Sale get inside Shin-Soo Choo's head by nearly getting inside his face:

Sale Choo near HBP

The end result: Sale struck out 10 or more batters for his third straight start. That's a first for him, and it's only the third such streak in White Sox history (Edwin Jackson in 2010; Floyd Bannister in 1985; Ed Walsh in 1910, according to Elias). No Sox pitcher has done it a fourth time.

Star-divide

Jose Abreu gave him some support. After missing the last three games with a swollen right index finger, Abreu showed no ill effects from either the inflated digit or the time off. He hit a two-run homer and added an RBI single, and both were on decent-to-good pitches. Combining the Brooks charts:

Abreu pitch map

The slider for a homer is on the right; the fastball for a single is on the left. That's some good plate coverage.