Powell: Sale-Quintana Matchup a Painful Reminder for White Sox Fans

A Red Sox fan wears his Chris Sale jersey to the pitchers first game against the White Sox. (Kevin Powell/WGN Radio)

By Kevin Powell

Tuesday night was a reminder of what could have been, or what should have been, with Jose Quintana and Chris Sale back on the field together again. At one time the two lefties formed one of, if not the best 1-2 punch in all of baseball. But when they played together the White Sox were never all that good. As general manager Rick Hahn put it, they were “mired in mediocrity.”

Video: Chris Sale talks about pitching against his former team

They never made the playoffs, and never really came close. Here’s what the Sox have done the past five years:

2016 78-84

2015 76-86

2014 73-89

2013 63-99 (last in the division)

2012 85-77

It was a frustrating time to be a Sox fan. Imagine what Sale and Quintana could do in a short playoff series. But the Sox couldn’t do anything with it, and we all know what came next. The “R” word:  rebuild.

Sale gets moved to Boston. And a new era begins on the south side. Now, what will become of Jose Quintana? He certainly hasn’t helped his trade value as of late. It was supposed to be a pitcher’s duel between he and Sale Tuesday night. Quintana lasted just 2 2/3 innings, gave up ten hits, three homers and seven earned runs.

“I need to check a couple things,” Quintana said after the 13-7 loss. “It’s part of the game. Tonight, for me, it was a little embarrassing with my teammates.”

He’s combined to give up 15 runs over his last two starts. Though, almost everyone is expecting a bounce back from the 28-year-old, just chalk it up as a couple of bad games and move on. And maybe the Sox don’t even trade him this year. Maybe Hahn moves him in the winter, as he did with Sale.

It’s a refreshing rebuild for Sox fans.  But not finding a way into the postseason, and not winning during the Sale-Quintana years, will always be tough to swallow for the White Sox faithful.

SALE RETURNS

Sale discussed the standing ovation he received when he took the mound Tuesday night:

“This is where I called home for a long time.  A little piece of my heart will always be here, for sure. I appreciated it. I did everything I could while I was here, for the team, for the fans, for the city. And to get that same respect back is nice.”

SOX STUFF

-The six home runs allowed were the most by the Sox since July 21, 2007 at Yankee Stadium (also six).

-The 2 2/3 innings pitched was Quintana’s shortest outing since September 2, 2013 when he left with a leg injury.

-The White sox have lost just five of 24 games when scoring five runs or more and are 14-7 when recording 10 or more hits.

Kevin Powell covers Chicago baseball for WGN Radio and anchors sports on The Roe Conn Show with Anna Davlantes, M-F/3-7p. Follow on twitter @kpowell720