BOSTON — Before a 4-0 victory over the Red Sox on Monday, White Sox players and coaches wandered around Fenway Park wearing red T-shirts to campaign for pitcher Chris Sale’s inclusion in the All-Star Game via the Final Vote fan balloting.
Teammates tweeted out the Sox slogan of #TargetSale, and messages of Sale support were scrawled on many of the Doodle Hats that pitcher Scott Carroll brought to the team earlier this season.
With a level of certainty that comes with all things concerning a healthy Sale, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said they “fully expect” Sale to ultimately be named to the American League All-Star team though he was left off the initial roster.
The White Sox then delved into the uncertain Monday evening in the opener of a four-game series as Carroll took the mound coming off a pair of rough outings since he returned to the rotation June 26.
The right-hander did more than enough to help the White Sox in 6 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit, walking two and striking out five. He lasted the longest he has in a game since his major league debut on April 27. Relievers Javy Guerra and Zach Putnam combined with him for the shutout.
White Sox slugger Adam Dunn hit a solo home run to right field in the second inning off Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz for a 1-0 lead. It was home run No. 13 this season and No. 453 in his career, pushing him into sole possession of 35th place on the all-time list ahead of former Red Sox great Carl Yastrzemski.
Dayan Viciedo added a three-run homer off Buchholz in the fourth. Dunn started the inning with a double, Alexei Ramirez walked and Viciedo launched a shot just to the right of center field.
Buchholz lasted seven innings, allowing five hits and four earned runs, walking one and striking out seven.
Carroll’s outing was a bright spot in what has been an up-and-down venture in the fourth and fifth slots in the White Sox’s rotation. He had allowed 12 earned runs over 11 innings in his previous two starts.
But his performance Monday brought White Sox starters’ ERA to 0.72 during the last run through the rotation.
With the inconsistencies in the rotation and the bullpen this season, Hahn not surprisingly said before the game that pitching is a priority for the club as it moves forward. The first order of Sox business last season was acquiring needs on the position player side.
“There’s never really a spot where any of the 30 clubs feel like they have enough pitching,” Hahn said. “Certainly given some of the injury issues we had and some of the development issues that have stalled perhaps … we see that need continuing to be a priority.”
When the Sox might make moves to bolster the pitching or other areas remains to be seen. Hahn said the club is in a different spot in regards to making trades than last July, when they sold off several veterans.
“There’s no urgency to cash in an asset so to speak before it expires,” Hahn said. “We are willing to make a deal at any point where it makes most sense for our long-term interests. We are not going to force the issue.”