Sale, excellent as usual, can’t prevent latest White Sox loss

SHARE Sale, excellent as usual, can’t prevent latest White Sox loss

Chicago White Sox starter Chris Sale delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers on Monday, Sept. 5, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

So this was why the White Sox have to consider trading five-time All-Star Chris Sale, the ace of their staff.

They would hate to see him go, and maybe he won’t this offseason, but for the second time in as many starts Sale pitched Tigers former All-Star and MVP Justin Verlander to a draw, only to see his team lose.

It happened in Detroit on Wednesday afternoon and it happened again on Monday in a 5-3 loss in 11 innings before a Labor Day late afternoon crowd of 18,653. Sale’s line: Eight innings, six hits, two runs, no walks, eight strikeouts and a no-decision leaving him at 15-7 with a 3.07 ERA on a 65-72 team headed for its fourth consecutive losing season and a fourth-place finish in a division that has dominated the Sox.

The Tigers, in a dogfight for a wild card berth, claimed an important victory on a three-run homer by Justin Upton with two outs in the 11th inning against Chris Beck.

Sale was left with only another consolation prize — a nice showing against Verlander and doing nothing to hurt his Cy Young case.

“It’s hard to look at [individual] stuff like that when you’re going what we’ve been going through,’’ Sale said. “I don’t really look too far into personal stats. If somebody’s got really bad stats on a winning team, I’ll trade it with him.’’

Sale is as fierce a competitor as there is in the Sox clubhouse. His manner was gathered and calm afterward but those who are close to him know the losing is getting old.

He has pitched in four All-Star Games and made five of them but has never pitched in the postseason. Most of his September outings have been in meaningless games.

“I can tell you top to bottom no one’s happy about it,’’ he said. “It falls on us, mostly. You just have to look at yourself in the mirror and say ‘What have we got to do to change it?’

“Everybody does, top to bottom. We have to find a way to be better next year. Hold your head up high but we’ve got to change something.’’

General manager Rick Hahn has acknowledged as much and isn’t ruling out the possibility of moving Sale for numerous players despite Sale’s team-friendly contract, only because having him – as well as All-Star Jose Quintana – hasn’t produced a winner.

After a shaky first which included the first of Miguel Cabrera’s two home runs – the 300th and 301st for him as a Tiger — Sale settled in and, aside from Cabrera’s second homer, allowed only three singles after the first.

Verlander finished with 11 strikeouts, allowed one walk and eight hits and two runs over eight innings.

“Both of those guys are good,’’ Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Miggy gets two but you would expect that if it’s freezing. A good pitchers game to watch. We had a chance first and third [in the seventh] and it seemed like Justin found another level to it [striking out Melky Cabrera], just like Chris did at the end of his.

In this one, Sale almost watched it get away from him after he retired Maybin and Jose Iglesias (strikeout) to open the eighth. Cabrera lined a single that went under center fielder Adam Eaton’s glove for an error, and Ventura came out for a visit as Victor Martinez, 23-for-46 against Sale, stepped in and Sale at 117 pitches. Martinez hit a hard one-hopper to Tyler Saladino on Sale’s 118th pitch to end the inning.

“Sale and Verland are so good because they can command multiple pitches on both sides of the plate,’’ said catcher Alex Avila, who hit has second homer in as many games against Verland, his former batterymate.

“With their type of stuff if they do make a mistake they can get away with it.’’

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