CHICAGO -- Oakland came to Chicago this weekend as one of six teams within 1 1/2 games of an American League playoff spot. As the standings looked before play Friday, the White Sox were atop the American League Central by one game and didn't have to think about the AL Wild Card.
Even if they weren't in that position, manager Robin Ventura wouldn't be considering his team's remaining postseason possibilities.
"Again, we've got more than a month," Ventura said. "With two weeks left, you probably look at that a little bit more. You know, if you don't win games now it's not going to matter anyway. So continue to play, continue to just focus on what you're doing.
"Maybe closer to the end you can get a better sense of what's going on and how you're playing. But right now, continue to play well."
Ventura was told that one-time White Sox manager Jerry Manuel used to look at the standings around the Bud Billiken Day parade in Chicago, which takes place Saturday. Ventura smiled and had a quick response to that idea.
"He can look," Ventura said. "I'll look later.
"I don't feel like we have to change anything. You still have to play your game that night. You can't control anything on the scoreboard anyway, so there's really no sense of sitting there looking at it every day. It will just make you play worse."
Sale continues to mature as starter
CHICAGO -- Chris Sale stands as a better pitcher presently than the talented version of the southpaw beginning his first year in the starting rotation back in April.
That change is as much about knowledge concerning his craft as it is about the development of his overall repertoire.
"Just control, I have to say," said Sale, when asked for the biggest difference between his 13-3 record and 2.59 ERA now and April. And he wasn't talking about pitch location.
"Every pitch isn't being thrown at 120 percent. I'm not trying to throw it by guys. It's more trying to trick guys now than it is trying to power through guys.
"I don't know how many times out of the bullpen, I would be in for 20 or 23 pitches and just kind of get in the strikeout mode and try to strike everyone out. Now it's where I'm like, 'Hit one of these first three so I can get out of here under 15 pitches, at 10, 11 or 12.' Those are better than having three strikeouts and looking up at 25 pitches for an inning."
Sale understands that his fastball doesn't possess the velocity it did out of the bullpen and even acknowledges his slider isn't quite as sharp as when he worked in relief. But adding a third pitch in the changeup has been a great help to his cause.
Even making a move from the bullpen as a reliever to the dugout as a starter during games has helped sharpen Sale's pitching mind.
"You see how things play out and you are right there," Sale said. "You watch [Jake] Peavy go out there and pitch and see what he does. You watch Gavin [Floyd], and what they do to get out of jams.
"It's all in front of you. Obviously, out in the bullpen you might not be able to see location or what sort of swing the guy puts on a certain pitch or whatnot.
"Being competitive, honestly, is I think the biggest part of being a pitcher," Sale said. "If you go out there and you expect to do well, things will happen a little bit better than if you go out on a hope and a prayer. You got 24 other guys expecting to win a ballgame, and you still have to go out there and fight."
Patience is key with slumping Viciedo
CHICAGO -- Dayan Viciedo's 6-for-36 funk and two RBIs over his last 13 games is a matter of trust, according to White Sox hitting coach Jeff Manto.
"Right now, he's just like any other young hitter. He has to trust information he's getting and trust information he's seeing on the video," said Manto. "People are throwing him away. And I think he doesn't trust the information.
"He sees it on the video and the reports and sees it in the game plan. He doesn't trust it right now, which is normal for a young player. Players need to experience it. That's why sometimes we can overcoach. That's when coaches get in trouble stepping in and giving too much information."
Viciedo entered Friday's action hitting .189 with one homer and eight RBIs over his last 21 games, but he had 13 homers and 46 RBIs in his past 71 games since May 14. So the offensive power is there once Viciedo makes the adjustments.
"Every night he's being pitched middle, away," Manto said. "Right now, he's pulling off the ball. Once he trusts he can go the other way and that his strength is to go the other way, he'll get back in his groove. For right now, he's coming out of his comfort zone a little bit too much."During Friday night's 4-3 win over the A's, Viciedo showed just what Manto was talking about with an opposite-field, game-tying homer in the seventh inning.
Third to first
John Danks, with his left arm in a sling, made his first post-surgery appearance in the White Sox clubhouse Friday night.
Minor League infielder Tyler Kuhn was traded to Arizona on Thursday for cash considerations.
Outfielder Trayce Thompson leads the Carolina League in RBIs (90), total bases (216) and runs scored (76) while playing for Class A Winston-Salem. Thompson is tied for the lead in home runs at 21. Outfielder Keenyn Walker, also with the Dash, ranks fifth among all Minor Leaguers with 50 stolen bases.