Padres-White Sox Preview
Chris Sale doesn't have a preference for when he pitches or whom he pitches against, and Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura will take advantage of any opportunity to put his ace on the mound at U.S. Cellular Field.
After having his start pushed up one day, Sale looks to help Chicago avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the San Diego Padres on Sunday.
Sale (4-0, 1.73 ERA) struck out four in three scoreless innings Tuesday before rain interrupted Chicago's 2-1 win over Cleveland. Due to the short outing, Ventura decided to move up Sale's next start after he was originally scheduled to oppose Clayton Kershaw on Monday at Dodger Stadium.
Ventura also cited Sale's success at home, where he's 19-10 with a 2.62 ERA in 35 career starts. He's allowed one run and two hits in his last 16 innings there.
"Going over it the last couple days, we just felt like it was better to get him in there as quick as you could and he would be fine," Ventura told the team's official website. "He says he feels great."
Sale doesn't seem to mind when he throws.
"Whenever they need me or my name is called, I'm going out there," Sale said. "It just so happens to be Sunday, which for me makes sense because I only threw three innings (Tuesday). So (I'll) go out there on regular rest and get it going, try to find a groove."
The left-hander has never faced the Padres (26-30), who won Friday's series opener 4-1 before Will Venable went 4 for 4 with two RBIs in Saturday's 4-2 victory.
San Diego is among the lowest-scoring teams in the majors but has plated at least four runs in six straight games, winning four. The Padres improved to 20-4 when scoring four or more.
Cameron Maybin homered in the series opener and entered Saturday 5 for 11 over his previous three, but he left in the second inning with right calf tightness. His status is unclear for this contest, but second baseman Jedd Gyorko will be back in the lineup after resting Saturday.
"He's been going at it hard and we've been playing him a lot," manager Bud Black said of Gyorko, hitting just .169. "Jedd will be in there (Sunday)."
The Padres are going for their first sweep of the season against the White Sox (28-29), who dropped to 7-6 without Jose Abreu. The rookie, still among the AL leaders with 15 homers and 42 RBIs, hopes to return Monday from an ankle injury.
Abreu's return is highly anticipated for a Chicago team that has struck out 23 times in the series with seven of its nine hits being singles. The White Sox haven't homered in three straight games and seven of 10.
"We're just not getting that hit that gets you over the hump," Ventura said. "I think all teams go through it for a period, and the last couple of days that's been us."
The White Sox will look to get back on track as they face Eric Stults, who returns to U.S. Cellular Field for the first time since Chicago released him two years ago.
Stults (2-5, 4.92) gave up three runs in six innings of San Diego's 4-3 victory over Arizona on Tuesday, not getting a decision. He had a season-worst four walks after issuing three over his previous seven outings.
The left-hander made one start and one relief appearance for the White Sox in 2012. He was designated for assignment May 15 of that year before the Padres claimed him off waivers two days later.
Stults' only start against Chicago was one of the best of his career, throwing a four-hitter for the Los Angeles Dodgers in a 5-0 win June 25, 2008.