Monday, June 2, 2014
Stock watch: Sale on cruise control
By Doug Padilla
Chris Sale, starting pitcher: The staff ace has been unbeatable this season, but especially since he returned from a stint on the disabled list because of a muscle strain in his left arm. Sale gave up just one run on two hits in his first complete game of the season Sunday against the San Diego Padres. In three starts since coming off the DL, Sale has given up one run on three hits over 18 innings, while striking out 23.
Hector Noesi, starting pitcher: The ride that Noesi has been on this season from ineffective reliever at Seattle and Texas, to a waiver claim, to an effective piece in the White Sox’s rotation has been nothing short of amazing. Only once in his past five starts has Noesi given up more than three earned runs in an outing. His last start was his best as he gave up one run on five hits over 7 1/3 innings, while throwing an efficient 96 pitches.
Conor Gillaspie, third base: The left-handed hitter keeps humming along with a hit in 21 of his last 24 games, good for a .371 (33-for-89) batting average over that stretch. He has also delivered eight multi-hit games over that span. It won’t come easy Monday night, though, as he is expected to be in the lineup against Dodgers left-handed staff ace Clayton Kershaw.
Andre Rienzo, starting pitcher: The White Sox’s starting staff has been huge of late despite a pair of sub-par starts from Rienzo. As is often the case when Rienzo starts to go south, poor command has been the main reason. Rienzo has only delivered a combined 8 1/3 innings over his last two starts, throwing 178 pitches in the process. Those last two outings were his first two losses of the season.
Tyler Flowers, catcher: Perhaps a home run from Flowers on Sunday is a sign that he is ready to start delivering again. After batting .367 in April, Flowers hit just .208 in May and was on an 0-for-14 slide when he went deep in the fifth inning Sunday. A positive heading into a matchup with Kershaw, if there could be one, is that Flowers is batting .351 (13-for-37) against left-handed pitching this season.
Adam Eaton, center field: The sparkplug at the top of the order hasn’t been what he was since going on the disabled list with a hamstring issue. In 13 games since his return from the DL he is batting just .233 (14-for-60). It’s been even tougher for him of late as he has just three hits in his last 30 at-bats (.100) over a stretch of seven games. In the three games before that run he was 8-for-14.