Chicago starter Chris Sale doesn't figure to have the experience edge that often when he takes the mound, but that will in fact be one thing working in his favor this afternoon.
Sale and the White Sox try to pick up a series victory today against the hosting Athletics, who will start Jarrod Parker for his Athletics debut.
The 13th overall pick of the 2010 draft, Sale began his major league career in the bullpen, making 79 relief appearances. The 23-year-old was moved to the rotation for this season and has gone 2-1 with a 3.50 earned run average over three starts.
Sale rebounded from his first loss as a starter to beat the Mariners on Friday. The left-hander allowed three runs on seven hits and three walks over 6 1/3 innings, striking out 11 to set a career high.
Sale, who threw 110 pitches, has faced the A's five times before in relief and is 1-0 against them with a save despite an 8.31 ERA.
His three career starts are two more than Parker, the ninth overall pick of the 2007 draft by Arizona.
After undergoing Tommy John surgery and missing all of the 2010 season, the right-hander went 11-8 with a 3.79 ERA in 26 starts in Double-A last year with the Diamondbacks before making his major league debut on Sept. 27. Parker allowed only four hits and a walk through 5 2/3 scoreless innings of a no- decision and also recorded an out for Arizona in the playoffs against Milwaukee while allowing a run.
The 23-year-old was then traded to Oakland this past offseason along with Ryan Cook and Collin Cowgill for starter Trevor Cahill and reliever Craig Breslow. He began the season in Triple-A Sacramento after walking 13 batters over 11 innings during the spring and responded by going 1-0 with a 2.18 ERA in four starts. More importantly, he walked just six and fanned 21 over 20 2/3 innings.
"He's been pitching well," Oakland manager Bob Melvin told his team's website. "We've always envisioned him being here at some point in time, especially with the stuff he has."
Pitching has been the key to this series so far. Chicago won its fourth straight overall and sixth in a row on the road with Monday's 4-0 win as Jake Peavy tossed a three-hit shutout, but Oakland responded with a 2-0 victory last night.
Tommy Milone allowed three hits and struck out five through eight innings, while Grant Balfour tossed a scoreless ninth inning to notch his fifth save of the year in Oakland's fifth win in eight games.
Kurt Suzuki broke a scoreless game with a pinch-hit double in the eighth that scored a run. Eric Sogard later brought Suzuki home with a base hit and was glad the offense was able to come through for Milone.
"Tommy pitched an unbelievable game and we felt like it was up to us to get out there and get him a run," said Sogard. "We put everything we had together and we ended up getting the win."
Gavin Floyd suffered the loss despite giving up one run on two hits and two walks in 7 1/3 innings.
"You don't like to see anybody pitch like that and be on the wrong side of it," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said about Floyd.
Chicago won six of 10 over Oakland last season, taking two of three on the road.