BY JOHN GROCHOWSKI
Assuming Chris Sale makes his scheduled start Tuesday in the All-Star Game, it will mark the seventh time a White Sox pitcher has been the American League starter in the game.
Sale will be facing a National League lineup that features Cubs at all four infield positions. It’s the first time four infielders from the same team have been voted to the starting lineup, though an injury to Pirates second baseman Bill Mazeroski led to an infield full of Cardinals in 1963.
Let’s look at the numbers posted by the Sox’ All-Star starters:
Mark Buehrle (2005): With a 16-8 record, 3.12 ERA and fifth-place finish in AL Cy Young Award voting, Buehrle was a key in a strong rotation for the Sox’ World Series champions.
In the All-Star Game, Buehrle was the winning pitcher in the AL’s 7-5 victory. He allowed three hits and struck out three in two scoreless innings.
Esteban Loaiza (2003): For most of a 14-year career, Loaiza was solid but unspectacular, with a 126-114 record and a 4.65 ERA. But 2003 was his shining moment at 21-9 with a 2.90 ERA and a runner-up finish in Cy Young voting. At the break, he was 11-5 with a 2.21 ERA to earn the start.
Loaiza allowed one hit and struck out one in two scoreless innings and got a no-decision in the AL’s 7-6 victory.
Early Wynn (1959): At age 39, Wynn helped pitch the ‘‘Go-Go’’ Sox to the AL pennant. A 300-victory Hall of Famer, Wynn went 22-10 with a 3.17 ERA.
There were two All-Star Games in 1959. Wynn started the first, going three innings and allowing one run and two hits with three strikeouts and a walk. He didn’t get the decision in the AL’s 5-4 victory. He pitched in relief in the second All-Star Game that season, giving up one run in two innings in the AL’s 5-3 victory.
Billy Pierce (1953, 1955 and 1956): At 186-152 with a 3.19 ERA in 13 seasons with the Sox and 211-169 with a 3.27 ERA overall, Pierce long was a top-notch starter.
He was named to seven All-Star teams, pitched in four games and started three. In his All-Star starter years, he went 18-12 with a 2.72 ERA in 1953, 15-10 with an AL-leading 1.97 ERA in 1955 and 20-9 with a 3.32 ERA in 1956.
In 1955, Pierce was the All-Star starter despite a 5-6 record, as the Sox scored only 3.13 runs per start for him in the first half. Pierce, who had a 2.11 first-half ERA, was even better at 1.85 after the break. The Sox turned up the support to 4.83 runs per start, and Pierce was 10-4 in the second half.
Pierce went three innings in each of his All-Star starts and allowed only one run. In the 1956 game, he allowed two hits, struck out five and walked one, but a third-inning run gave the NL a lead it never lost. Pierce took the loss in the NL’s 7-3 victory.
Pierce’s totals for the three starts: nine innings, one run, four hits, nine strikeouts, one walk and a tough-luck 0-1 record.
Follow me on Twitter @GrochowskiJ.