Amidst another strong season, Chris Sale is more concerned about helping the Chicago White Sox find success than achieving it for himself.
Undefeated in his last six starts, the left-hander looks to continue his recent dominance while trying to help the visiting White Sox to a third straight victory over the Minnesota Twins on Saturday.
Sale (9-1, 2.03 ERA) allowed one run for a third straight start Monday, overcoming seven hits and striking out eight over seven innings of a 3-1 win over Kansas City. He's 4-1 with a 1.99 ERA in his last seven outings and now hits the road, where he is 2-0 with a 2.27 ERA in five starts this year.
"I think I'm just trying to get better day in and day out," Sale said.
Had it not been for a flexor muscle strain that forced him to miss a month, Sale would rank second in the AL in ERA if he qualified. That still hasn't kept his name out of the Cy Young conversation.
"There's no reason why he shouldn't be in the discussion," manager Robin Ventura said.
Sale isn't focused on personal glory at the moment.
"Like I've always said, I don't pay too much attention to that," he said. "I have a job to do and I have to focus on doing that and playing games.
"We're right in the hunt right now, so these are the dog days and you have to bear down now. Now's not the time to be thinking about yourself or some trophy or whatever."
Sale posted a 0.90 ERA while winning his first three starts versus Minnesota (46-56), but has a 4.66 mark despite winning two of three since then. He allowed three runs in 7 1-3 innings of a 5-3 season-opening victory over the Twins on March 31.
Chicago (50-54) dropped five straight to Minnesota prior to winning the first two of this set. Dayan Viciedo had four hits and Jose Abreu hit a three-run homer for his 30th in Friday's 9-5 victory.
Though Abreu homered for the first time in eight contests, he's batting .365 during a 15-game hitting streak and .341 with 11 homers and 26 RBIs while hitting safely in 33 of 34. He's batting .333 with two home runs and 12 RBIs in nine against the Twins this year.
"I think we're past the point of unexpected with him," Ventura said. "You just expect him to be in the middle of things when it's happening."
Brian Dozier is hitting .308 (4 for 13) with a double and two homers versus Sale, but is 4 for 28 in his last seven games overall.
Losers in 10 of 13 at home, the Twins called up Logan Darnell from Triple-A Rochester to make his first career start in this contest. The left-hander, who was 5-5 with a 3.43 ERA in 17 starts for Rochester, takes the place of the ailing Kyle Gibson.
Darnell didn't allow a run or a hit over three innings of a 4-2 loss at Cleveland on May 6 that marked his major league debut.
As the White Sox look to secure a series win, owner Jerry Reinsdorf is expected to be released from the hospital Saturday after feeling lightheaded in Cooperstown, N.Y., while in town for the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies this weekend.