Ventura (6-9) pitched an eight-inning complete game against the Rangers on Thursday, giving up three runs on four hits, but he suffered the loss. He struck out six and walked one.
The hard-throwing righty gave up three solo homers and just one other hit, but that was just enough to lose with Cole Hamels dominating on the other side. This actually marks the first complete game of Ventura's career, and he certainly deserves plaudits for it, especially considering he failed to finish six innings in three of the five starts prior to Thursday's game. However, homers are up across the league, and Ventura hasn't been immune -- he's already set a new career worst with 17 allowed this year. That's no small part of the reason he's in the midst of his worst MLB campaign.
Bell's performance on Day 1 of training camp was praised by head coach Dirk Koetter, Scott Smith of the team's official site reports.
The second-year speedster missed all of his rookie campaign with a hamstring injury, but has impressed throughout OTAs and mini-camps this offseason. Bell is one of several players competing for Tampa's third receiver job, and brings an array of physical tools to the table. Thursday's effort certainly caught the eye of Koetter, leading him to remark that Bell "...got off to a good start. Kenny definitely flashes. He ... picked up right where he left off."
Lackey (8-7) held the White Sox to one run on four hits and a walk over six innings Thursday, earning his first win since June 8.
Lackey had gone 0-5 with a 5.73 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in the eight games since his last win, and a matchup against crosstown ace Chris Sale didn't look promising. But he was able to keep the ball in the yard -- something that's been a struggle this year -- and edge out his star counterpart. His combination of veteran savvy and proneness to the long ball is likely to ensure that Lackey's ERA remains in the high threes.
Sale (14-4) gave up two runs on six hits and three walks with just four strikeouts over six innings in Thursday's loss to the Cubs.
Aside from the unusual lack of whiffs -- his second-lowest total of the year -- Sale was effective in his return from his jersey-destruction suspension, but he got narrowly outpitched by John Lackey. His relationship with the White Sox is clearly frayed; with the MLB trade deadline coming up and the team under .500, it's entirely possible that this could end up being Sale's last start with the team that drafted him 13th overall in 2010.
There is a chance Jorge Polanco could share at time at shortstop as the team may want to give him regular at-bats after being called up from Triple-A, but Polanco will likely get a boost in playing time in any scenario in the final two months.
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