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Chris Sale leads the American League with 186 strikeouts. AP

Chris Sale doesn’t need a rest, Robin Ventura says

SHARE Chris Sale doesn’t need a rest, Robin Ventura says
SHARE Chris Sale doesn’t need a rest, Robin Ventura says

Whenever Chris Sale struggles, it’s something of a head scratcher. Because of his history with fatigue or arm soreness, and because he has taken the ball for every one of his starts this season after missing the season opener, speculation that he isn’t 100 percent has made the rounds. But Sale, who gave up seven runs against the Rays Tuesday after allowing a career-high 12 hits against the Red Sox in his previous start, says he feels fine.

Manager Robin Ventura also said Sale is fine, and sees no reason to have the All-Star left-hander miss a turn in the rotation.

“I don’t see skipping him,” Ventura said Tuesday. “I know in the past we’ve done that, but that’s with his velocity [dropping].

“That’s not what it is. I think for him, you take your chances with a guy like that. I mean, if it’s something physical, we’d definitely do that. We’re always going to err on the side for him to do that, but he doesn’t feel that way and we don’t feel that way.”

Sale (9-7, 3.52 ERA, AL-high 186 strikeouts) and pitching coach Don Cooper had a sit-down conversation in the U.S. Cellular Field stands before Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays. With an off day on the Sox schedule Thursday, every pitcher in the rotation will get an extra day of rest. The Sox have another off day next Thursday.

Sale’s fastball averaged 95 mph Tuesday, according to Brooks Baseball. He didn’t use it as much (on 40 percent of his pitches) as he usually does. Both homers he allowed were on fastballs, the pitch Ventura said he suspected the Rays were sitting on.

“It’s possible that command might not have been there, but the fastballs that he threw, they hit pretty far,” Ventura said. “He’s got other pitches. I think they were sitting fastball. They got ’em early and hit some homers, so I think he re-adjusted and went with some off-speed stuff. And I think good pitchers will be able to do that. They’ll go off of that. But when he has his really good fastball he can locate, it makes him even tougher.”

Sale took a liner off his left leg in his start against Boston Thursday, but Ventura said that’s not bothering him.

“No. He says he’s fine,” Ventura said.

“You look around the league and there’s some other great pitchers that have had some struggles as well. But do I want to run him out there every five days? Absolutely. I’m excited every time he goes out there and I think we’re confident every time he goes out there. He is human, and that’s part of going through a long season. There’s going to be some ups and downs, but for him, when he goes out there, there’s a chance he could do something special and there’s a chance something like that could happen. So, it’s a tough couple games for him, but he’s always been able to bounce back.”

“My arm feels good, my body feels good, I feel loose; it’s just not showing up,” Sale said Wednesday. “I don’t know what it is. If I knew what it was I’d definitely try to figure it out. Just bad. I’m just not making pitches when I need to make pitches. I’m not keeping the ball in the yard. It seems like I’m just throwing it over the fence for them, really. Like I said, it really stinks.”


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