Chris Sale, the left-handed pitcher seen above, isn't just a rookie. He was drafted this June and brought to the big leagues almost immediately – 10.1 innings of minor league ball and up to the show. On Wednesday, he earned the save for the White Sox with a scoreless ninth inning, whiffing Shin-Soo Choo to end it.
This impresses me. It is almost impossible to imagine the Twins bringing a pitcher to the majors so quickly, much less entrusting him with the job of closing out a meaningful game in September.
That wasn't the plan, of course. Sale arrived as the last man on the pitching staff. But he quickly showed the stuff that made him the 13th overall pick. And as the rest of the bullpen has crumbled around him, Ozzie Guillen has leaned ever more heavily on him. Matt Thornton and J.J. Putz are on the disabled list, Tony Pena and Scott Linebrink are frequently ineffective, Bobby Jenks has blown at least two three-run leads this season, Sergio Santos appears to be hitting a wall.
The long-term plan is for Sale to be in the White Sox rotation. But he threw more than 100 innings in college, and the Sox don't want to overwork him at his tender age (21). And right now, they need a quality arm in the pen.
Chalk up another one for the Greg McMichael rule: If you get outs, they'll find a role for you. Sale is getting outs, and his role just keeps getting bigger.