CHICAGO -- There's an ongoing process taking place in converting Chris Sale from a solid late-inning reliever to the frontline starting pitcher those in the White Sox organization expect him to become. But even when Sale battles his way to a decent outing with his less than best stuff, as he did over five innings Sunday against the Tigers during his second career start, the 23-year-old southpaw wants more.
And he inevitably ends up being his own harshest critic.
"I feel like being hard on myself is something that motivates me to be better next time," Sale said. "Obviously my parents are always saying, 'It wasn't that bad' or 'It wasn't as bad as you thought it was.' You have everyone picking you up.
"But at the same time I don't want to be satisfied with something less than a good outing. It's something that kind of fuels me and fires me up for the next time out."
Sale's stuff is as good as any pitcher in the White Sox rotation and ranks right up there in the upper echelon of American League starters. So, he doesn't want his starting inexperience used as an excuse for not being as good as he believes possible.
"As a competitor and athlete, I want everything to be top notch every time out," Sale said. "I expect myself to be a guy that is reliable on this team as a starter. I don't want people to be like, 'It's his first year.'
"I'm not big on excuses. I know it is my first year and getting my feet wet ... But at the same time I still expect myself to go out there and be the pitcher I want to be, and the pitcher this team needs me to be. I hold myself accountable for being good. When I'm not good, I'll let you know."