Chris Sale has mentioned throughout his successful career that there's a time to enjoy personal accomplishments. With the Chicago White Sox trying to remain a relevant postseason contender, this is not one of them.
The left-hander can help that cause while trying to win a season-high fourth straight start Wednesday night against the visiting Boston Red Sox.
Sale (12-7, 3.34 ERA) has a 2.11 ERA in his last three starts, and struck out a two-game club record 29 in the last two. He leads the AL with 222 strikeouts - four shy of his career high set in 2013.
Sale's 12.16 strikeouts per nine innings is the highest in baseball since Randy Johnson's 13.41 in 2001. His swing-and-miss percentage of 33.8 also is the highest since Pedro Martinez's 35.8 in 1999. However, with Chicago (59-65) struggling to remain a serious playoff contender, he doesn't have time to really consume that personal success.
''It's something I'll look back on at the end of the season and probably appreciate it a little more then," Sale said.
If Sale's to win a fourth consecutive start for the first time since 2012, he'll need to be better than July 30 when he allowed seven runs and a career-high 12 hits in five-plus innings of an 8-2 loss at Boston (57-69).
That defeat ended a season-high seven-game winning streak for Chicago, and also began its current 10-15 stretch. However, the White Sox evened this three-game series with a comeback 5-4 victory Tuesday.
"You continue to play hard and be optimistic," said Chicago manager Robin Ventura, whose club is five games out of the final wild-card spot but has four teams ahead of it.
Trayce Thompson delivered a go-ahead two-run double and had one other RBI as Chicago scored three times in the seventh inning to keep from wasting a 15-hit performance Tuesday. Thompson is 12 for 23 with five RBIs in his first 11 major league games.
''He belongs here and he knows that,'' Ventura said. ''The way he's taking at-bats, he's going up there being aggressive and confidence is high with him right now.''
Though Thompson has not faced Rick Porcello (5-11, 5.81), plenty of his teammates have fared well against the right-hander.
Melky Cabrera is batting .545 in 22 at-bats and Avisail Garcia .467 in 15 against him. Meanwhile, Adam LaRoche, Geovany Soto, Carlos Sanchez and Adam Eaton are a combined 15 for 28 against Porcello, who has a 7.90 ERA while losing his last three starts against Chicago.
He'll come off the disabled list from a strained triceps to pitch for the first time since giving up six runs and 10 hits in two-plus innings of a 9-2 loss to the White Sox on July 29.
"He's worked hard to get back to this point," interim manager Torey Lovullo told MLB's official website. "He's had a couple of real good rehab outings. I'm anxious to see what it looks like (Wednesday)."
With two hits Tuesday, Boston's Mookie Betts is batting .327 with nine RBIs in his last 11 games. He's 2 for 3 with a pair of doubles against Sale.
David Ortiz is batting .385 against Sale and Xander Bogaerts is 4 for 8 with a home run.