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The Chicago White Sox are clearly one of the big surprises in the majors this season, sitting atop the AL Central standings under first-year manager Robin Ventura.
It's been a feel-good story for sure—not only with Ventura at the helm with no prior managerial experience, but with three players who have had huge comeback seasons (Adam Dunn, Alex Rios, Jake Peavy) and acquisitions made by GM Kenny Williams that have proven to be solid contributors (Kevin Youkilis, Dewayne Wise, Brett Myers).
However, only acquiring Francisco Liriano for the starting rotation may come back to haunt the Sox.
Youngster Chris Sale has clearly emerged as a promising left-hander, posting a 15-6 record and 2.93 a ERA. But at 163 IP, Sale has far surpassed the amount of innings he's thrown in any previous year professionally, and it's starting to show.
In Sale's first 18 starts of the season, he surrendered only seven home runs. However, in his last six starts, he's given up 10 long balls, including two more in his start on Sunday night against the Detroit Tigers, allowing Detroit to pull dead even with the Sox atop the NL Central.
Sale is definitely leaving more balls up in the strike zone, an indication he may be wearing down. Ditto for Jose Quintana, who has also thrown more innings than ever before.
With Gavin Floyd hurting, the acquisition of one more veteran starter could have been a wise move, as the Sox now find themselves reeling through the first few days of September.