White Sox manager Robin Ventura confirmed what everyone had already assumed Wednesday, naming ace lefty Chris Sale the club’s Opening Day starter according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.
Sale, the obvious choice for Ventura, boasts a spectacular 2.97 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 9.5 K/9 in 500 2/3 career major league innings. He tossed a career-high 214 1/3 frames in 2013 and finished fifth in the American League Cy Young Award voting.
Sale will probably be followed in the White Sox starting rotation by Jose Quintana, John Danks, Erik Johnson, and then Felipe Paulino. In HardballTalk’s 2014 season preview for the Pale Hose, Aaron Gleeman predicted a fifth-place (dead last) finish in the American League Central standings.
Chicago opens its regular-season schedule March 31 against the Twins.
Nationals closer Sean Doolittle will miss more time than expected as he is dealing with a stress reaction in the bridge of his left foot, MASN’s Mark Zuckerman reports. Doolittle started feeling soreness in his left foot two weeks ago and went on the 10-day disabled list on July 10, retroactive to the 7th.
According to Zuckerman, Doolittle’s injury is similar to a bone bruise. The lefty will stop his rehab program and will likely miss several more weeks than expected. The injury caused Doolittle to not participate in the All-Star Game, but his hope was to return shortly after the second half began.
Doolittle, 31, has 22 saves and a 1.45 ERA with a 49/3 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings for the Nationals this season. Kelvin Herrera will likely get the lion’s share of save chances while Doolittle is out.