"I'd put him up there with anybody," said Ventura of his ace. "He's got great stuff, great competitor, everything you want. He's young, but he's still one of the best guys in the league."
Sale's numbers in his first full Major League season have been outstanding. In the AL, Sale (14-3, 2.60 ERA) ranks among the top four in winning percentage, opponents' average, wins and ERA.
He'll look to keep up those figures on Friday in the series opener against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium.
With a 10-1 record and 2.45 ERA in his last 13 starts, the 23-year-old left-hander breezed through his previous outing against the A's, tossing 6 2/3 innings and allowing just two runs on six hits for the win. He also finished the game with 11 strikeouts, his third double-digit strikeout effort of 2012.
"Good things happen when you fill up the zone, throw strikes," said Sale, who threw 79 of his 114 pitches for strikes in the game. "You start falling behind counts and get into hitters' counts, they'll hurt you. You just got to be sharp and on the top of your game."
Meanwhile, Luis Mendoza continued his solid run of pitching in his last start against the Orioles. Throwing eight quality starts in his last 11 outings, Mendoza will do his best to continue that pace on Friday.
Mendoza (6-8, 4.37 ERA) wasn't flustered by a three-hour rain delay during that start in Baltimore, throwing six shutout innings before giving up three runs in what was a 7-3 Royals win.
The right-hander has been one of the reasons the Royals' rotation has thrived in the month of August, going 8-6 in 16 games, as opposed to 4-15 in 25 games from July 1-29.
"Our starting pitching has been very good; it's given us a chance to win for the most part every day, and you can compete when you do that," manager Ned Yost said.
White Sox: Konerko expected to return to lineup
Paul Konerko, who has been out with a concussion since Aug. 7, rejoined the White Sox on Friday, and is expected to play.
After 81 starts as the Royals' leadoff hitter this season, Alex Gordon moved into the third slot for Thursday's game against the A's.
"He's been good, but I think he'll be comfortable in the three," Yost said. "In projecting long-term lineups, he'd be a guy that'd be in the middle of the order. We've struggled with production in that spot a little bit and we've got guys now I'm a little more comfortable with in the leadoff spot in [Jarrod] Dyson, [Lorenzo] Cain and [Chris] Getz."
Since moving back there to stay on May 27, Gordon had a .334 (97-for-290) average with a Major League-best 27 doubles.
In the three-hole on Thursday, he went 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
The White Sox have hit 28 home runs in their last 13 games and 44 in their last 23.
The Royals have outscored opponents, 16-2, in the first inning during August.