MINNEAPOLIS -- Chris Sale has already established himself as the stopper in the White Sox starting rotation. But he's also earning buzz for a much bigger distinction as his dominance has placed him in the thick of the American League Cy Young conversation.
Sale threw six shutout innings in the series opener against the Twins on Friday, helping the White Sox to a 6-0 victory and his 17th win of the season, tied with Jered Weaver for the American League's second-highest total. Tampa Bay's David Price won his 18th on Friday night.
The victory, Sale's 11th win immediately following a White Sox loss, also made him the first White Sox pitcher to win 17 in a season since Gavin Floyd won 17 in 2008. Sale's 2.78 ERA was third in the league entering Saturday.
The numbers are clearly good enough for the 23-year-old to receive consideration.
"He's in there," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "He's just as good as anybody in the league. I don't know how to look at it or anything else, but I know he's as good as anybody in the league."
Judging from Sale's reaction to the possibility, though, winning such an award is one of the last things on his mind.
"It is what it is," Sale said. "I don't pay attention to anything like that. When you start thinking about things like that you get a little selfish and what's really important slips away. I'm here for this team. I'm not trying to win any awards or anything like that. The only award I want is the big shiny trophy at the end."