Game 15- White Sox at Mariners
The M’s take on another AL Central foe as they try to put last night’s collapse behind them. Hector Noesi gets the start for the M’s in his first game since his brilliant 8-shutout-innings performance against Oakland on April 14th. On the hill for Chicago is lanky left-hander Chris Sale. He’s listed at 6’5″, 170 which honestly looks too high by about 40-50 pounds. Sale was drafted in 2010 and made his MLB debut in the White Sox pen that same year. After another very good year as the set-up man last year, he’s moved to the rotation. Sale features a very good sinking two-seamer that sits in the low-90s, a four-seamer in the mid-90s, a change-up and a good slider.
As a reliever, he was death on a stick to lefties; his FIP was just over 2 against lefties, compared to just over 4 against righties. As such, the M’s are going with a lot of right-handed hitters tonight. That may put more pressure on Sale’s change, though to be fair, he’s always thrown it to both lefties/righties, and it’s been effective. He doesn’t have pinpoint command, so the M’s should make him throw a lot of pitches and take a walk if they can. Sale’s going to be a test for an M’s team that’s dominated by lefty hitters. While the sample’s tiny, the M’s have struggled mightily against lefties thus far, and they haven’t faced one with the kind of velocity that Sale brings. A Jesus Montero home run would be nice.
Notes: In today’s installment of dog-bites-man, sun-rises stories, Hisashi Iwakuma has become the last injury-free MLB player not to appear in a game despite being on the big-league roster since March. The Sox had held starter Philip Humber back a while, but he’s got a start under his belt. Now it’s only Iwakuma, who once – ONCE – got close enough as warming up.
The Rainiers signed OF Chris Pettit who’d been cut by the Dodgers at the end of spring training. He spent years in the Angels organization and had a very good 2009 for Salt Lake, hitting .321/.383/.486 and playing all three OF positions. This landed him on several Angels top-10 lists, and after a cup of coffee with Los Angeles and the departure of Vlad Guerrero, he was poised to get a lot of time in 2010. Instead, he missed essentially the entire year with a shoulder injury and by the time he returned in 2011, Peter Bourjos was ensconced as the everyday CF, the Angel had acquired Vernon Wells (hahaha) and 19 year-old Mike Trout was poised to make his MLB debut. He was a solid if unspectacular player, and the Rainiers could use him. With injuries to Carlos Peguero, Mike Wilson and Daren Ford, the R’s have had to use some non-traditional OFs – Utility IF Scott Savastano played in LF last night, and actually made a game-saving, HR-denying catch in the Rainiers 1-0 win. They’ve brought up Chih-Hsien Chang, but haven’t wanted to get Johermyn Chavez or Denny Almonte, so a minor-league pick up like this one makes a lot of sense. It also makes sense for Pettit, as playing AAA in affiliated ball’s preferable to playing in the independent Atlantic League.