Blue Jays-White Sox Preview
CHICAGO -- Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox will try for a major leagueleading 13th victory when he takes the mound on Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The lefthander tops the majors with 12 victories, ahead of Jake Arrieta of the Chicago Cubs, Johnny Cueto of the San Francisco Giants and Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who all have 11.
Sale went 1311 with a 3.41 ERA last season. His careerbest total for victories is 17, set in 2012, his first season as a starter.
Sale (122, 2.83 ERA) pitched one of his best outings of the season in his last start. He held the Boston Red Sox to a run and four hits in seven innings Tuesday at Fenway Park.
The White Sox (3738) are 123 when their ace pitches. They were feeling good about the possibility of taking the threegame series with him starting.
"Big day, lot of pressure," starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez said. "We've got Sale on the mound and have a pretty good chance of winning the ballgame."
The White Sox will try to bounce back after hitting seven home runs -- all solo shots -- in a 108 loss on Saturday.
"You were hoping there'd be a couple guys on (base)," manager Robin Ventura said. "I figured hopefully we could get some guys on there in the ninth and get one up in the wind and see what happened.
"I'm just glad the way the guys keep battling back offensively, and that's a good sign."
Sale allowed a run in eight innings on April 26 in his other start against Toronto this season, and he is 32 with a 2.25 ERA in four career starts against the Blue Jays.
Marcus Stroman (63, 5.23 ERA) is expected to start for Toronto (4135) and will try to finish the month on a positive note. The righthander has struggled in June, going 12 with a 7.89 ERA.
Stroman allowed seven runs in a seasonworst 3 23 innings Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles in his last start. He has given up at least six runs in four of his last seven starts.
"I just lost the feel a little bit," Stroman told MLB.com after his last start. "I'm just waiting for it to click. I feel like when it clicks again, I'll get rolling.
"It has been just kind of in and out lately the last few starts, just kind of searching for it. It's in there, it's just a matter of finding it and being way more consistent with it."
In terms of injuries, the Blue Jays hope first baseman Justin Smoak will soon return to the lineup. He was out Saturday for the second consecutive game after fouling a ball off his left knee on
Reliever Gavin Floyd exited Saturday's game due to right shoulder tightness after throwing four pitches.
"I just felt uncomfortable out there," Floyd said. "I tossed a ball, and it felt like something I needed to do and take myself out. We'll get images (Sunday) and find out what's going on."