Chicago White Sox fans were eagerly anticipating Chris Sale’s first start after a monthlong stint on the disabled list.
The young staff ace did not disappoint.
Sale looks to build on a dominating performance and shake his recent struggles against the Cleveland Indians while leading the White Sox to a fifth win in six home meetings Tuesday night.
Sale (4-0, 1.89 ERA) got off to an outstanding start to the season before a flexor muscle strain in his elbow landed him on the DL after just four outings. The left-hander showed no ill-effects Thursday, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning before allowing a two-out single in a 3-2 victory over the visiting the New York Yankees. He retired 18 of the 19 batters he faced while striking out 10 in six scoreless innings.
"There’s definitely some pitchers in the league that have the same type of ring to their name and the same type of makeup and stuff," teammate Paul Konerko said. "But we’re just fortunate we’ve got one of them."
Sale, though, hasn’t been nearly as dominant against the Indians, going 1-4 with an 8.04 ERA in five matchups since the start of last season. He’s gone 14-10 with a 2.25 ERA against everyone else over that span.
His worst outing of this season came against the Indians on April 11, when he allowed three runs and six hits in five innings of a 9-6 win.
Nick Swisher is 5 for 10 with two home runs off him the past two seasons, while Carlos Santana has gone 9 for 20 since 2012. Swisher, however, left Monday’s opener with a leg injury, while Santana sat with a possible concussion.
Michael Brantley might have trouble extended his 12-game hitting streak since he’s 2 for 18 with nine strikeouts when facing Sale. He’s batting .396 during his run and hitting .425 over a 10-game hitting streak versus Chicago.
The White Sox (26-27) have gone 5-3 against the last-place Indians (24-28) this season after losing 17 of 19 meetings in 2013. They’ve gone 4-1 against them at U.S. Cellular this year, plating 26 runs in the victories.
Chicago’s Conor Gillaspie had a career-high four hits – including three doubles – in Monday’s 6-2 win, leaving him with a .429 average over his last 10 games. He is 9 for 17 with six RBIs against Cleveland this season.
Dayan Viciedo hit a three-run home run Monday, but is hitless in 17 at-bats with seven strikeouts against scheduled starter Justin Masterson (2-3, 5.32).
Masterson (2-3, 5.32) has gone 0-2 with a 9.98 ERA in his last three outings after he surrendered five runs over 5 2-3 innings in Thursday’s 8-7, 13-inning win at Baltimore.
However, the right-hander is 5-0 with a 1.65 ERA in six starts against Chicago since the start of last season. He’s made 10 starts against the White Sox since his last loss to them, April 11, 2012. He gave up six runs over 4 2-3 innings in a 12-6 road win April 12, before allowing four hits over 7 1-3 innings in a 2-0 home victory May 3.
Lonnie Chisenhall was hitless Monday after going 9 for 20 in his prior five contests, while Michael Bourn went 0 for 5 to end his nine-game hitting streak.
All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis will be activated from the DL on Tuesday but is not expected to start.