Chris Sale is in the thick of the American League Cy Young Award conversation and is coming off a 12-strikeout performance against a playoff contender. But on Monday, he'll try to do something he's had trouble with throughout his career: quiet the Orioles.
Sale gave up a season-worst 11 hits against Baltimore in a White Sox loss on June 23, and the typically dominant left-hander has had struggles with the O's throughout his five years in the Majors.
His 5.28 career ERA in eight appearances (two starts) against the Orioles is the highest Sale has against any AL opponent. He's also allowed 23 hits and issued nine walks in 15 1/3 innings facing Baltimore, which equates to a 2.09 WHIP.
While some history favors the Orioles, they still have to face a pitcher who owns a 2.01 ERA and 150 strikeouts, good for second and eighth in the AL this season, respectively. In his last start, Sale silenced the Giants, as he tossed eight scoreless innings and recorded 12 strikeouts for the third time in 2014. The White Sox bullpen coughed up the lead in the ninth inning, however, denying Sale his 11th victory.
Bud Norris will start for the Orioles, who carry a 7 1/2-game division lead into Monday. The Orioles have combined to score 20 runs in Norris' last two starts, and the right-hander has picked up wins on both occasions.
In his last start, Norris gave up three runs on five hits over five innings against the Yankees. It was his 10th win of the year, which ties a personal season-best.
Orioles: Gonzalez expected to join team during series
Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez is expected to be back on the Orioles' active roster while the team is in Chicago this week.
The 30-year-old was optioned last week to make room on the roster for Ubaldo Jimenez, who was activated from the disabled list. The team has not said what the immediate plans are for Jimenez's future, but the righty has a 7.84 ERA in his two starts since returning.
Manager Buck Showalter said Sunday the team wants to bring Gonzalez back in some capacity in the near future. Gonzalez is scheduled to throw a 75-pitch simulated game with Double-A Bowie on Monday.
"[That will] set him up for coming back to us and pitching out of the 'pen if needed or as a starter if needed," Showalter said. "We would like for him to pitch Monday so we have Saturday and Sunday as an option with him."
Gonzalez has a 3.80 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in 20 appearances (19 starts) for the Orioles this season.
White Sox: Ventura doesn't rule out Rodon playing in Majors this season
Robin Ventura left the door open Sunday when asked about the possibility of Carlos Rodon -- the third overall pick of this year's First-Year Player Draft -- suiting up for Chicago in 2014.
"If he's doing well enough to come up here, yeah," the White Sox manager said. "We're trying to help us win. If he's available and he's ready to go, he's ready to go. I would like to see it, but he's got to be ready to go."
A left-handed pitcher, Rodon was recently promoted to Triple-A Charlotte from Class A Advanced Winston-Salem and is scheduled to make his debut at that level on Tuesday. The North Carolina State product has a 2.84 ERA in six professional appearances (three starts).
Rodon has not pitched more than 3 2/3 innings in an outing, and if he is to join the big league club, it's anticipated he would pitch out of the bullpen or work with a set pitch count.
• The Orioles collected their 70th win on Sunday. They hit the 70-win plateau 10 days earlier this season than they did in 2013, when they finished 85-77.
• The White Sox are 34-30 against teams above .500 this season, yet they are 25-35 against teams with losing records.
Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.