Ventura prefers Sale to sit out All-Star Game
White Sox manager wants ace to focus on second half of season
CHICAGO -- If White Sox manager Robin Ventura had his choice, Chris Sale wouldn't throw a single pitch Tuesday for the American League at the All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile.
Sale will leave that decision up to Ventura and those whose pay grade ranks above the left-hander's.
"Those aren't my decisions to make. I understand where he's coming from. I respect it," said Sale prior to Sunday's first-half finale at Wrigley Field. "I've got to put this team first and foremost.
"This is the team I'm playing for and that I have a future with. I've enjoyed pitching (in the All-Star Game) in the past. I would like to. But at the same time, that's a decision for him to make. He's going to make the right one."
The four-time All-Star enters the break with an American League-best 157 strikeouts and 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings, not to mention a .206 opponents' batting average. Since his ERA stood at 5.93 on May 6, Sale has worked 92 innings, allowed 56 hits and 18 earned runs, while walking 13 and striking out 131.
Thanks to his 10-strikeout performance in Saturday's victory over the Cubs, Sale now has seven straight road outings with 10-plus strikeouts. According to Elias, he is the first pitcher in the modern era (since 1900) to record 10-plus strikeouts in seven consecutive road starts in a single season.
Not only is Sale worthy of his All-Star nod, but he also would be in the conversation to start for the AL. But Ventura looks at Sale's pitch count at 110 or greater in nine of his last 10 starts, coupled with the high intensity of his pitches thrown in the rivalry series vs. the Cubs, and he would rather have Sale prepared for the team's potential second-half push.
"We'll sit there and talk about it. But I would prefer he wouldn't," Ventura said. "I think just for him. He is [our only representative]. But I also want him to pitch for us for the rest of the year too."
Tuesday would work out as Sale's side day, but Ventura knows that there will be far greater intensity from the left-hander pitching an inning in the All-Star Game as opposed to throwing a bullpen session. The White Sox start the second half with Jeff Samardzija and John Danks pitching in Friday's home doubleheader against the Royals, followed by Jose Quintana Saturday and then Sale or Carlos Rodon Sunday.
Even if he doesn't pitch, Sale plans on thoroughly enjoying the experience with friends and family in Cincinnati.
"Absolutely. It's always a fun time," said Sale, adding that his young son, Rylan, already has his jersey and is ready to go. "My sister and my brother-in-law are coming up for the first time. Still nothing to hang your head about.
"I would say I probably feel as good as I ever have," added Sale, crediting director of conditioning Allen Thomas, head athletic trainer Herm Schneider and assistant athletic trainer Brian Ball for helping get him prepare between starts. "I show up to pitch every five days and other than that, I leave all the business stuff to other people that know more about it."