Pomeranz was chosen fifth overall and Sale went 13th in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. The Indians selected Pomeranz but traded him to the Rockies in 2011, and he was in the Majors and in the starting rotation before that year ended. The White Sox sent Sale on a whirlwind 11-game tour of the Minors and had him in their bullpen before 2010 ended.
After spending the next season in the bullpen, Sale went 17-8 with a 3.05 ERA his first year in the rotation. Pomeranz has started all 26 of his games in the Majors and is 4-10 with a 5.01 ERA.
But when the two faced off Monday, Pomeranz pitched right with Sale. Pomeranz gave up two runs, one on a Paul Konerko first-pitch homer in the second inning, and four hits, while striking out three against two walks in a 3-1 loss to the White sox. Sale gave up three hits, one a Yorvit Torrealba homer, and struck out two in five innings plus two batters in the sixth.
With Pomeranz showing improvement with his secondary pitches and having found the delivery that gives him a mid-to-upper 90s fastball, he is showing signs of the confidence to go with the talent that made him a top-five pick.
"It's good to know you can just go out there and throw, and not sit there thinking, 'What am I doing this time?'" Pomeranz said. "Just get it and go."
Pomeranz ran into a delivery issue -- allowing his momentum to drift to the third-base side, instead of straight to the plate -- from the stretch. But he was able to correct on the go. Last year, when he went 2-9 with a 4.93 ERA in 22 Major League starts, he was trying to survive without knowing when he was out of whack.
The Rockies' rotation is led by Jhoulys Chacin and Jorge De La Rosa, who missed extensive time last year because of injuries, and veteran Jeff Francis, who has been forced to rely on guile when shoulder injuries robbed him of velocity. Having a talented young pitcher like Pomeranz hit his stride could shore up a rotation that could render a high-scoring offense and a dependable bullpen moot.
"I don't care what's being said," Pomeranz said. "I'm more worried about how I feel and being around the zone."
Manager Walt Weiss said Pomeranz on Monday was "a lot more in control of the at-bats. You didn't see the big misses."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.