White Sox-Red Sox Preview


Of all the players left off the All-Star team, Chicago's Chris Sale has to be considered one of the biggest snubs.

He's still hoping to join teammates Jose Abreu and Alexei Ramirez in Minneapolis, though.

Looking to win a fourth straight decision, Sale and the visiting White Sox try to add to the Boston Red Sox's woes Wednesday night.

Sale (8-1, 2.16 ERA) missed more than a month with a strained flexor muscle earlier this year, but he's still put together an outstanding first half. The left-hander owns a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 6.0, and his 0.87 WHIP is lowest in the AL among the 93 pitchers with at least five starts.

"As far as him going out and having a good year ... he is one of the most dominant pitchers in the game," manager Robin Ventura said.

Sale could still wind up making his third consecutive All-Star appearance through the AL Final Vote, which he was leading as of Tuesday afternoon. The winner will be announced Thursday.

"I'm satisfied with what I've done," he told MLB's official website. "Obviously, I'd like to have been out there a little more, but you can't go back and say ifs, ands or buts, so for me, it's looking forward and try to do the same or just a little better in the second half."

Sale will try to leave one final lasting impression on voters after six-hitting Seattle in Friday's 7-1 victory. Sale, who carried a shutout into the ninth inning, struck out a season-high 12 and didn't walk anybody.

Sale struck out 10 over seven innings of one-run ball in his only start against Boston, going without a decision in a 3-1 loss April 17.

Losers in four straight and seven of eight, the last-place Red Sox (39-51) have dropped the first two in this four-game set by a combined 12-3 score. Boston stranded nine runners in Tuesday's 8-3 defeat, falling 10 1/2 games behind Baltimore for first place in the AL East.

"I come here every day thinking it's going to turn around," Mike Napoli said after going 3 for 3 with an RBI. "There's a lot of guys in this clubhouse that do that. We still come here and work hard and play the game the right way, and hopefully it turns around."

The White Sox (44-47) are headed in the opposite direction, winning three in a row and eight of 11. Conor Gillaspie went 3 for 4 with a two-run homer while Abreu had three hits.

Chicago, which has outscored opponents 25-9 over its last six, won a season-high four straight May 4-7.

Abreu has hit safely in all but one of his last 22 games, batting .333 with eight homers.

Boston will turn to Rubby De La Rosa (2-2, 2.51), who was lifted after one inning Sunday in his latest start with Triple-A Pawtucket. The right-hander struck out 30 over five big-league starts spanning 32 1-3 innings in place of then-injured Clay Buchholz earlier this year.

"I think you can see him use the fastball, different kinds of changeups, his breaking ball in the mix, his confidence," general manager Ben Cherington said. "He clearly looks like a major league starter."

This is his first appearance against the White Sox.

Despite losses Monday and Tuesday, the Red Sox have taken 14 of 21 from Chicago.