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Saturday, September 29, 2012
Bad time for Sale's disastrous outing

By Bruce Levine

Chicago White Sox starter Chris Sale most likely has thrown his last pitch of 2012 after losing to the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday.

The White Sox, on the brink of elimination, had their ace on the mound in yet another must-win situation, but as fate would have it, Sale appeared to run out of gas after hitting the 190-inning mark in the second. Sale, who is finishing his first season as a starter, ended his day after a season low 3 1/3 innings, giving up five runs while taking his eighth loss of the season.

Chris Sale
Chris Sale didn't make it out of the fourth inning in Saturday's Sox loss.
“He is not in an area where he is feeling injured,” Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “We have given him (days off). We would not put him out there if we thought we were doing harm to him.”

The Sox’s tragic number is three -- any combination of Detroit Tigers wins and Sox losses adding up to that number will give Detroit the AL Central title. After Saturday’s loss, Ventura wasn’t directly laying blame on Sale’s below-average outing, seeming more upset with his team’s approach.

“It is pretty simple, we (stunk),” Ventura said. “We did not hit. That’s just the way it goes.”

During the Sox’s recent slump, a total collapse of the offense has put extra pressure on the starting rotation. The Sox have scored a total of 29 runs in their last 11 games (2-9 record).

Sale, for his part, refused to blame anyone but himself.

“We lost the game 10-4,” Sale said. “I got knocked out after 3.1 innings. That was terrible. That was a disgrace,” Sale said. “For (Ventura) to say that (we stunk) was putting it lightly. I did nothing to help my team win and I put the guys in a position that they shouldn’t have been in. To have your starter go out there and throw three innings, that is a recipe for disaster every time.”

Sale could possibly pitch on short rest in the team’s final game at Cleveland on Wednesday, but the most likely view from the Sox management is that he has thrown his last pitch of the year. The loss was Sale’s first at home since May 12.

“I didn’t do my job,” Sale said. “The team needed me and I didn’t pull it out for them. Just a frustrating day.”