KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chris Sale will start against the Royals on Sunday, after all.
After the White Sox and Royals were rained out Thursday, manager Robin Ventura said through a team spokesman he would stay in rotation with his starters and move them all back a day, which would have pushed Sale (9-1, 2.26) off Sunday’s series finale and into Monday’s interleague start against the Mets in New York.
On Friday Ventura said Sale will pitch Sunday against the Royals’ Edinson Volquez. Miguel Gonzalez is scheduled to pitch Friday night against Danny Duffy and Carlos Rodon will go against Yordano Ventura on Saturday. Mat Latos was pushed back to the Mets series.
“There was no miscommunication. We just think this is a better plan,” Ventura said. “By the time we left last night it was ‘just push everybody back and we’ll talk about it some more.’ He didn’t throw very much the other day. We have a division team. A lot of things go into it. Just keep him on schedule, get him pitching.”
Pitching coach Don Cooper seemed surprised to read Friday that Sale wasn’t going to face the Royals on Sunday. Sale did not pitch against the Royals when they won two of three games against the Sox last weekend at U.S. Cellular Field.
“I didn’t have him going Monday,” Cooper said. “I’m a little confused to tell you the truth. I don’t know what you guys were thinking or writing or whatever. All I know is, with the weather… Gonzalez [Friday] and Rodon [Saturday] and we’ll figure out what we’re doing.”
Ventura left the park Thursday night knowing the plan was fluid, and it’s likely he wanted to wait till Friday to make sure Sale was good to go on four days rest Sunday. Sale is coming off his only bad start — six runs on seven hits and four walks in 3 1/3 innings against the Cleveland Indians Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Field. He threw 89 pitches, a season low, but a career-high 43 of them in one inning, the third.
“Listen, he was out of the game quicker than usual the last time so we can do it,” Cooper said. “We feel good with Sale against anybody. Division thing, that may have had something to do with it.”
If Friday’s game is rained out — although the threat of rain seemed to be strongest around 9 p.m. (gametime is 7:15) — Ventura said Rodon would still start Saturday and Sale would go Sunday, with Gonzalez skipped.
The probables for the Mets in New York are Jose Quintana Monday, Mat Latos Tuesday and Gonzalez Wednesday.