MLB

Tigers-White Sox Preview

CHICAGO -- After Chris Sale won his first nine starts, he needed three starts to become baseball's first 10-game winner as he fought through some uncharacteristic struggles.

Even when he's not at his best, the Chicago White Sox ace remains an elite talent. Despite some recent rocky outings, Sale will attempt to became the first 11-game winner in the major leagues on Wednesday against the Detroit Tigers.

Sale is coming off a six-inning outing against Kansas City when he allowed five earned runs and 11 hits but was bailed out by the White Sox offense, which put up seven runs. Afterward, Sale focused on the team win rather than dwelling too much on the quality of his outing.

"It didn't work out for me, but were still in here (celebrating)," Sale said.

"Even when he has struggled, Sale has become the White Sox most consistent starter in a rotation that has undergone its own roller coaster ride.

"The White Sox parted ways with John Danks and Mat Latos and brought in James Shields, who has struggled mightily in his first two outings in Chicago. Carlos Rodon has been a mixed bag and Jose Quintana hasn't gotten enough run support as the Sox have fallen on hard times after starting 23-10.

Through all of that, Sale has provided a sense of stability for manager Robin Ventura.

"You know when he goes out there pretty much what you're going to get," Ventura said. "That's the biggest thing is you see you have a pretty good shot of getting some innings and getting a win."

Sale will face Mike Pelfrey on Wednesday in the series finale between the Tigers and White Sox.

Pelfrey (1-6) has experienced his own struggles and has lost three of his last four starts after four straight no-decisions. His last victory came June 4 against the White Sox when he allowed two runs and five hits in six innings.

Sale, meanwhile, will look for his second straight victory in a season when he has often fought his own emotions in the outings when he has had difficulty finding the strike zone.

On numerous occasions, Sale has admitted he needs to throw fewer

"angry pitches," which have played a major role in taking him off his game and impacting his efficiency.

And yet, for opposing hitters, Sale remains a tough test -- partly because of his repertoire of pitches but more because of the way he goes about his business.

"He's just funky, he's weird," Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos said. "He has weird mechanics, he is very unorthodox. It's just different coming at you with the way he throws it so it makes it more difficult."

That will make the Tigers' approach to facing Sale on Wednesday a familiar one that has been used by many other teams before them.

"As a lineup, you just have to make him throw a lot of pitches and try to get to the bullpen as early as possible," Castellanos said.

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